ECU says no to medical marijuana on campus

In a statement emailed to the campus community, ECU President Katricia Pierson told faculty and students alike that the use, possession, sale or distribution of marijuana, including medical marijuana, edibles, and products containing marijuana, on any university owned or controlled property or at any university event remains illegal under multiple federal laws and Department of Education policies.

Following in the footsteps of other RUSO schools and the state’s two largest universities, East Central University will not allow medical marijuana licensees to possess or use marijuana on campus, at university events or in university property.

In a statement emailed to the campus community, ECU President Katricia Pierson told faculty and students alike that the use, possession, sale or distribution of marijuana, including medical marijuana, edibles, and products containing marijuana, on any university owned or controlled property or at any university event remains illegal under multiple federal laws and Department of Education policies.

“Even though medical marijuana is now legal under Oklahoma law, it remains illegal under federal law,” Pierson said. “As a recipient of federal funding, East Central University must abide by federal law, which prohibits the unlawful manufacture, distribution, possession and use of illegal drugs, including medical marijuana.”

Pierson’s warning to faculty and students was clear.

“You may not bring marijuana on any university property or to any university event, smoke or consume marijuana or any product containing marijuana on any university property or at any university event, and you may not come to class or work under the influence of any illegal substance including marijuana,” the university president said. “Regardless of having a license for medical marijuana, its use on campus or at university events is strictly prohibited and ... may result in disciplinary action.”

Pierson’s statement is consistent with similar statements issued by the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University and with the position taken by Regional University System of Oklahoma officials, all of whom have been caught between a rock and hard place by the passage of State Question 788, legalizing medical marijuana at the state level while marijuana remains strictly illegal at the federal level.

Universities like ECU receive sizeable portions of their funding from federal sources and are bound to adhere to federal laws, which currently prohibit marijuana, among other substances, from being used, possessed or sold on a college campus. Prohibitions contained in the Controlled Substances Act, the Drug Free Schools and Communities Act and the Drug Free Workplace Act all place university administrators in states like Oklahoma, where the licensed use, possession or sale of marijuana for medicinal purposes is now legal, in the uncomfortable position of having to reject the will of voters when it comes to campus policy.

Stakeholders in the state’s fledgling medical marijuana industry continue to call for legislators to convene a special session to deal with issues like those faced by Pierson and other university officials across the state, but so far, legislators have demonstrated an unwillingness to do so. Until state and federal laws can be reconciled where marijuana is concerned, ECU Tigers will have to take their medicine outside of Tigerland.

Contact Carl Lewis at (580) 310-7520, or by email at clewis@theadanews.com.

Editor

Carl Lewis is the editor of The Ada News. He's an aspiring photographer, an unabashed fan of Apple products and an avid coffee swiller. Contact Carl at (580) 310-7520, or by email at clewis@theadanews.com.