January 14, 2019

May 25, 2018, Arizona

The state’s Supreme Court has allowed the use and possession of medical cannabis on the premises of higher education institutions by the individuals possessing MMJ cards. The law was made five years ago that banned the use of MMJ in the institutes of higher studies. 

The Supreme Court declared that the law was against the voters’ intent. Furthermore, the Court removed the charges of the petitioner, a student who filed a lawsuit against this law.  

Arizona got its MMJ program eight years ago through a public vote. The initial legislation prohibited the use of MMJ in preschool campuses, elementary schools, and school buses. However, the law was silent about the use of medical cannabis in the premises of colleges and universities. As per experts, the law actually didn’t restrict MMJ in such institutes.  

A Violation of Voter Protection Act  

Arizona’s constitution has a provision with the name Voter Protection Act. It entails that the state legislators can’t amend laws resulting into upending and hampering anything voters have already approved. The state banned MMJ in colleges and universities in 2012, which was actually a violation of Voter Protection Act.

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The Case of ASU Student  

An ASU student was caught with mere 0.4 gram of MMJ in his dorm room. The prosecution charged him with class 6 felony. This was outrageous because the state’s MMJ laws at that time allowed the possession of 2.5 ounces. Subsequently, the prosecutors reduced it to a misdemeanor and also offered a plea deal to the student.  

However, the student was determined to fight his case. He challenged the decision in Arizona’s Court of Appeal by citing his conviction a violation of Voter Protection Act. The Appeal Court gave the verdict in the student’s favor. But the state appealed this ruling in the Supreme Court, which in turn upheld the ruling of the Appeal Court.  

Disciplinary Actions are not Ruled Out  

Although students with MMJ cards can use medical cannabis on the premises of their colleges and universities without the risk of getting convicted by the state, they can still face some sort of disciplinary action from their respective institutes. 

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Institutes provide a very simple reason for their non-compliance with the state laws i.e. federal funding cuts. Cannabis of all types is a class 1 controlled substance under the federal laws. By allowing the consumption of class 1 controlled substance on their premise, the institutes face a risk of federal funding cuts. ASU also presented this as their defense.  

The court has also disallowed universities and colleges to press criminal charges against the students caught with MMJ. Arizona has more than 150,000 MMJ registered patients and nearly 25% of them are 30 years or younger. This shows that there might be a significant number of college and university students with MMJ cards. But at last, the Supreme Court ruling has excluded criminal charges from the equation for all those young MMJ patients who have to consume their medication on campuses.  

Marijuana stays in the news, and Alice is always ready to keep us updated. A world traveler and lover of freedom, Alice knows what is going on, no matter where she roams. She specializes in marijuana legalization stories across the globe, with up to date... [read more]


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