Marijuana: DU sends students drug-policy e-mail before Amendment 64 becomes law
The passage of Amendment 64, which became law earlier today, presents challenges for Colorado colleges, since lotsa students are as confused about the measure as many members of the public. That likely explains why the University of Denver chose last week to send enrollees a copy of its drug policy -- one that forbids the use or possession of marijuana anywhere on campus. See it below.
As pointed out in the e-mail, on view in its entirety below, developing policies and procedures about the use of illicit drugs and alcohol is required of institutions like DU by the Drug-Free Schools and Campus Act, as well as assorted state and federal laws, and sharing this information with students has become commonplace. However, this information is typically distributed at the beginning of school years or semesters -- and while Amendment 64 isn't mentioned anywhere in the document, the timing of its release just weeks after Colorado voters gave the proposal their blessing, and days before Governor John Hickenlooper signed it, likely wasn't coincidental.
Having the message hit inboxes a few days before two CU-Boulder students were arrested for feeding a professor and classmates pot brownies without mentioning the secret ingredient qualifies as serendipity, though.
No specific drugs are name-checked in the e-mail, credited to associate provost for student life Patricia Helton and associate provost for graduate students Barbara Wilcots. But there are links aplenty, including one noting that the DU honor code "specifically addresses the unlawful possession, use and distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol by students."
The honor code is also on view in this post. It states that "drug misuse includes, but is not limited to...possession, use, manufacture, or distribution of any illegal drug, or any possession or use of any prescription drug or other controlled substance except under the direction of a licensed physician." The passage adds that "the manufacture or distribution of any drug is also prohibited. Marijuana, including Medical Marijuana, is prohibited on campus."
The e-mail also features allusions to discipline for violations, whose outcomes range from warnings to dismissal from the university. But the note supplements such mentions with the following warning: "Be advised that these disciplinary sanctions may be in addition to any legal or criminal consequences that may result from the violation of federal, state or local laws."
The use of the word "federal" above is key, since Amendment 64 violates federal law, which considers marijuana to be a Schedule I substance that's wholly illegal -- and rumors about a potential Justice Department crackdown on Colorado continue to rumble.
But even if the feds decide to keep their distance, DU appears wary, and no wonder. After all, A64 only allows possession of an ounce or less of marijuana for adults age 21 and over. Sorry, kids.
Continue to read the e-mail to University of Denver students and the DU honor code.