With statewide legalization, UMass bans marijuana

  • The University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass) campus

Published: 12/15/2016 3:56:54 PM

AMHERST — Marijuana may be legal in Massachusetts as of Thursday, but don’t try lighting up on the University of Massachusetts Amherst campus any time soon.

The same day Massachusetts’ new marijuana legalization took effect, UMass Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Campus Life Enku Gelaye sent a letter to students saying weed is not allowed on campus.

The email, which was sent at 1:20 p.m. Thursday, said that federal laws, including the Drug Free Schools and Communities Act and the Drug Free Workplace Act, require recipients of federal funds to prohibit marijuana use, possession and cultivation.

“The use, possession and cultivation of marijuana is therefore not allowed in any university housing or on any other university property,” the email states.

University staff will continue to enforce current rules prohibiting marijuana and anyone found using, possessing or growing it will be subject to disciplinary action, the email states.

In addition, marijuana paraphernalia is not allowed on campus or any other university property or at campus sponsored events.

“UMass Amherst is committed to maintaining the health and safety of everyone in our campus community,” the email states. “High-risk drinking, marijuana, and illegal drug use increase the risk of negative health consequences and undermine university goals for wellness and academic success.”

However, UMass isn’t the only college prohibiting marijuana on campus. Federally-funded institutions of higher education must comply with regulations such as the Drug Free Schools and Communities Act.

Hampshire College receives federal funding through Title IV in the form of financial aid and through federal research grants, spokesman John Courtmanche said in an email. 

“As a condition of accepting this money, Hampshire is required to certify that it complies with the Drug Free Schools and Communities Act,” Courtmanche said. “Therefore, marijuana is prohibited at Hampshire College even though it has been legalized in Massachusetts.”

Amherst and Mount Holyoke colleges also receive federal funding and must comply with the Drug Free Schools and Communities Act regulations or risk losing federal funding, according to the institutions’ websites.

Mount Holyoke states online that the school must comply with federal laws outlined by the Controlled Substances Act classifying marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug which prohibits use, possession and cultivation.

Caitlin Ashworth contributed to this story. Dave Eisenstadter can be reached at deisen@gazettenet.com.


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