Professor Julie Steiner speaks to NPR about the recent changes in Marijuana Legalization
On Wednesday, November 17th, New England Public Radio aired an interview between Professor Julie E. Steiner and Susan Kaplan, Host of All Things Considered to discuss a high-stakes issue implicated by state marijuana legalization laws. Specifically, because marijuana is still federally illegal under the Controlled Substances Act, institutions of higher education fear that they will lose federal funding if they accommodate marijuana use in any form including medicinal marijuana on campus or at off-campus school-related locations or activities. Federal laws tie funding to a requirement that university provide a drug-free campus and work environment. As a result, schools ban marijuana and extend that ban to students and employees who are prescribed medical marijuana in accordance with state law. This is true even those in states like Massachusetts that have legalized medical and/or recreational marijuana. This policy will likely continue until the federal government eliminates the federal-state conflict by (i) removing marijuana from the Controlled Substance Act or (ii) downgrading it from a Schedule I controlled substance to a lesser Schedule II-V status. Alternatively, an appropriate executive agency could issue guidance to institutions of higher education to assure them that their school will not lose federal funding if they accommodate students and employees taking prescribed medical marijuana in accordance with a state humanitarian use program.