Despite Potential State Weed Law, No Change in School Policy


Creative Commons

Everett Bishop, Staff Writer

Senate President Marty Looney has introduced a bill in the Connecticut legislature that would legalize the recreational use of marijuana. The bill, No. 487, was passed by the General Assembly’s Judiciary Committee on Thursday, April 5, and would allow anyone in Connecticut over the age of 21 to purchase marijuana from state-licensed retailers.

This move comes shortly after the news that Massachusetts’ plan to legalize recreational weed would bring that state an estimated $45 – $150 million annually, according to The Connecticut Post. Currently, Connecticut has both decriminalized marijuana and expanded medical marijuana programs to include additional dispensaries.

But how would the regulation of recreational marijuana affect the University of New Haven community? Apparently, not much.

“We’re actually a smoke-free and tobacco-free campus,” said senior associate dean of students, Ric Baker. “That includes vapes, any kind of smokeless tobacco, that sort of thing. Those are all prohibited from being used on campus. You can have a vape in your room and go off to the sidewalk and use it, but you can’t use it on campus.”

But campus restrictions for marijuana don’t stop there. The university’s police chief, Tracey Mooney, said in an email that since federal law “prohibits the possession, use, and sale of the drug on campus” it is “highly doubtful” that the university would change their policies regarding marijuana on campus.

A major reason for the reluctance to change campus policy is funding.

“The university, as a federal aid recipient, we have to abide by federal law,” said Baker. “So no matter what the state does, we have to prohibit and enforce our alcohol and drug policies on campus. So that means that it would be prohibited from even being possessed on campus.”

While there would not be much of a change in policy, Baker said he sees the need for more education about drugs and marijuana should the bill pass through legislation.

“I would anticipate that if it does become legal recreationally, people’s usage would increase,” said Baker. “So we would want to do more education about that.”

However, there are hurdles when it comes to educating about marijuana on a federally funded college campus. According to Baker, while there are grants that pay for alcohol education programs on campus, no such funding exists for education about marijuana. Baker said that he and several other university staff members that make up the university’s substance use task force are still looking into what education is out there for marijuana and other drugs.

After passing the state’s Judiciary Committee, Bill No. 487 is on its way to Connecticut’s House of Representatives. Connecticut residents are largely in favor of legalizing marijuana with 71 percent of polled residents voting in agreement.