Marijuana will remain illegal on Stanford campus despite its recent legalization in California.
On Nov. 8, California passed Proposition 64, the California Marijuana Legalization Initiative, which legalized use of recreational marijuana for those 21 and older. In response to the bill, many at Stanford have wondered if the university would amend its Controlled Substances Policy regarding the use of marijuana on campus.
Following the Proposition’s passing, the Office of Alcohol Policy and Education (OAPE) responded by posting a Stanford University Marijuana Policy Statement to its webpage and sharing the document with university residential staff. The document addressed Prop. 64 and maintained that marijuana will remain illegal on Stanford campus because marijuana remains illegal under federal law.
Stanford’s policy statement reads,“Marijuana is still illegal under federal law and categorized as an illicit substance (Drug Enforcement Agency Schedule I) under the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 and the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Amendments of 1989.”
OAPE further explained that Stanford must comply with federal laws before states laws because the University receives federal funding, including funding for research and student financial aid, and could risk funding withdrawal by noncompliance.
Ralph Castro, Associate Dean of Students and Director of OAPE, maintains that thus far, the office has had no need to revise the policy and has encountered no significant issues.
“[The policy on marijuana] is pretty clearly laid out in regards to the prohibition on illicit drugs, and it’s not something we have had to address on a global scale, as we do with alcohol,” Castro said.
However, some students do not believe that the policy has been well-defined thus far. Katie Keller ’19 felt that the University’s policies on marijuana have not been articulated well to the student body.
“I would say that most students are not aware of our marijuana policy,” Keller said.“I think we all know very clearly what the rules are with alcohol and the new policy, but I think that talking about marijuana has been a pretty big taboo because it was illegal in the state of California until recently.”
Furthermore, there has been some misconception on campus about possible future policies in regard to Prop. 64.
“I think people [students] are mostly interpreting the California policy, [Prop 64], as what’s right even though Stanford’s policies may be different,” Keller said.
Now that recreational marijuana use is legal for a subset of the population beyond Stanford campus, Castro believes students should take the time to understand Stanford’s stance.
“It’s important for students to educate themselves on what’s expected here, so even though possession, cultivation and use is legal in California, it still is illegal here,” Castro said.
OAPE additionally plans to conduct more educational efforts on its policies and on safe marijuana consumption. In particular, Castro says OAPE may begin to look at the risks associated with edible marijuana.
Contact Caroline Kimmel at ckimmel ‘at’ stanford.edu.