UIPD discusses medical marijuana legality on campus


By Joseph Longo

Although the State of Illinois legalized medical cannabis use, the University of Illinois Student Code bans all forms of illegal drugs or drug paraphernalia on campus.

“The illegal possession or use of drugs or drug paraphernalia is prohibited. While the use of medical marijuana has been legalized in the state of Illinois, the possession or use of prescribed medical marijuana is prohibited on campus property,” article 1 part 3 states.

Because the University receives federal funding, it must abide by federal rules said Pat Wade, University of Illinois Police Department spokesman. The Drug Free Workplace Act of 1988 and the Controlled Substances Acts of 1970 requires agencies receiving federal funding to be free of drugs made illegal at the federal level.

“If we as a university say that we are going to allow students to possess marijuana on campus for either recreational or medical use, then we start to lose our federal funding,” Wade said. “Which includes things like federal aid and grants.”

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While this has yet to present a problem for the UIPD, Wade said he expects to see regulations on medical marijuana arrests in the future.

“People have different opinions about whether it is a problem. Recreational use of marijuana is illegal,” he said. “As a police department our job is to enforce the laws as prescribed by the state legislator. I think when it’s a problem is certainly a debate going on across the country right now, but we continue to enforce the laws.”

Wade said the UIPD uses discretion when arresting students for drug or drug paraphernalia possession. In minor infractions, the department can decide whether to follow the protocol outlined in the student code or the state of Illinois laws.

“Instead of arresting someone or getting them into the legal system, we have the option to deal with that violation internally as a university,” Wade said. “That way we still discipline students for breaking the law, at the same time not getting them into the legal system (or) blemishing their record when they’re looking for employment.”

The University Public Affairs Office did not return calls for comment.

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