Some Virginia Colleges Will Continue to Prohibit Marijuana on Campus to Protect Federal Funds

Virginia Commonwealth University
by Tyler Arnold


Some Virginia universities intend to prohibit marijuana on campus grounds after it becomes legal for recreational use for adults age 21 and older in the state.

Although the commonwealth will allow legal possession beginning in two weeks, the plant still is illegal at the federal level and a schedule I drug under the controlled substance act. If a university allows marijuana on campus, some universities worry it could threaten their federal funding.

A spokesperson from James Madison University told The Center Square the Office of Student Accountability and Restorative Practices will continue to address incidents of marijuana on campus because use and possession are illegal under federal law.

“As a recipient of federal funding, the university complies with the Drug Free Schools and Communities Act, which requires compliance with federal drug laws,” the university said in a statement. “Cannabis cases in the off-campus (Harrisonburg/Rockingham area) will still be seen under our off-campus adjudication alcohol/drug strategy if the incident was against the new VA law.”

Virginia Commonwealth University also will continue to prohibit marijuana on campus grounds, Laura Rossacher, the director of VCU Health, told The Center Square.

“VCU has not changed its current policy about possession, use or distribution of marijuana on university property including residence halls regardless of this new Commonwealth of Virginia law,” Rossacher said. “Federal law still classifies cannabis/marijuana as a Schedule 1, illegal drug. The federal Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act requires any institution that receives federal funding to have a drug policy that addresses marijuana use, or risk the loss of their federal funding under Title IV.”

These statements came after Virginia Tech updated its student code of conduct to clarify the possession of marijuana still would be prohibited on campus. A person who uses marijuana while off campus will not face any sort of punishment.

Brian Coy, a spokesperson for the University of Virginia, told The Center Square the university is evaluating the law and its policies and will modify its rules if necessary.

Old Dominion University is reviewing its rules, as well, according to ODU Vice President for Policy and Administration Greg DuBois.

“We are reviewing affected policies for needed changes as it relates to the legalization of marijuana,” DuBois told The Center Square. “The review process has not been completed yet.”

A spokesperson for George Mason University did not respond to a request for comment from The Center Square.

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Tyler Arnold reports on Virginia and West Virginia for The Center Square. He previously worked for the Cause of Action Institute and has been published in Business Insider, USA TODAY College, National Review Online and the Washington Free Beacon.

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