Marijuana policies for local universities

Marijuana in Virginia

FILE – This Aug. 15, 2019 file photo shows a marijuana plant in an indoor cannabis farm in Gardena, Calif. A survey released on Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019 says U.S. college students are using marijuana at the highest rates in 35 years. Marijuana use continues to be higher in college-age adults than any other age group. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) – Marijuana use and possession is legal in Virginia for people 21 and older — in small amounts. They can even cultivate up to four plants. But the story is different for those who work and live on college campuses in Hampton Roads. They will continue to ban marijuana to remain in compliance with the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act, which requires schools to enforce drug policies to receive federal funding.

An email from Old Dominion University dated July 12 outlines the following policy:

“On July 1, 2021, the possession of one ounce of cannabis (i.e., marijuana) and/or its use became legal in Virginia for those 21 and older. The federal Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act prohibits the use or possession of cannabis on college campuses that receive federal funding, including Old Dominion University. Federal law prohibits the possession, use or distribution of cannabis on University property or as part of University-sponsored events. Cannabis remains an illegal drug under federal law.

Therefore, we wish to remind students, faculty, and staff that the possession or use of cannabis on campus is not permitted. The ODU Policy 6603 on Drug and Alcohol and the Code of Student Conduct that prohibit the use or distribution of cannabis on University owned property remain in effect.”

Jim Hanchett, Chief Communications Officer at Christopher Newport University, sent 10 On Your Side an email that stated: “Our CNU policy is unchanged. Marijuana and alcohol possession and use are not permitted on campus. The specifics are in the Student Handbook, p. 99.”

Regent University will also prohibit the use of marijuana “on Regent premises or at Regent events.” 

Dean of Students at Norfolk State University, Michelle Marable, posted on the school’s Facebook page in August with a reminder of the university’s policy.

“Norfolk State University prohibits the use, possession, distribution or cultivation of marijuana and possession, use or distribution of related paraphernalia on campus. That includes all NSU students, faculty, staff, alumni, visitors or guests of the university.”

The latest edition of the Hampton University student handbook states “employees and students must not
report to or work under the influence of alcohol, any drugs, or other substances which will in any way influence their work performance, alertness, coordination or response to or effect the safety of others on the job.”

At the College of William & Mary, the student handbook provides this guidance:

“University regulations, in conformity with Federal and State statutes governing drug use, provide the following:

Manufacturing or providing drugs to others is prohibited. The penalty for violation of this regulation shall range from disciplinary suspension to dismissal from the university. Possession or consumption of drugs is also prohibited. Possession of drug paraphernalia is prohibited. The penalty for violation of this regulation ordinarily shall range from deferred disciplinary suspension to dismissal.”

Virginia Wesleyan University’s student handbook outlines the following:

“Regardless of Commonwealth law, Virginia Wesleyan receives federal funding through student financial aid, and therefore must uphold all federal guidelines and laws. Under federal law, the possession, distribution, and consumption of marijuana and paraphernalia remains illegal.”

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