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House bill introduced would legalize state medical marijuana

Yesterday, a bipartisan group of 19 House of Representative members introduced the "Truth in Trials Act" (H.R. 6134).  It appears that this bill would essentially make state law on medical marijuana prevail within federal court trials.  A defendant could offer as their defense that the marijuana-related activity, including property use, was within State law.  Should the court concur, then the defense wins.

The implications of this act would be to allow states complete freedom to craft any law regarding medical marijuana, even if it conflicts with federal law.  It is unclear at this point what chance it has of passing either in the House or later in the Senate.  It is worth watching though.  Given the current Federal crack down on California dispensaries, the implications of such a change would probably be felt most immediately in our state.

The bill does not appear to affect the Drug Free Schools and Community Act.  Thus schools would likely be required to continue their policies of not allowing medical marijuana.  Since the Bill only speaks of criminal trials, withholding federal funds for non-compliance with the DFSCA is still a threat.  Nor does it seem that schools would be required to allow for a medical defense within student conduct judicial actions.  But perhaps if this bill moves forward, legal experts will weigh in and provide a more authoritative opinion.

Higher Education Center Loses Funding

The Higher Education Center for Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Violence Prevention has announced that its funding is being cut as of August 31st, 2012.  Its director, John Clapp, has issued a statement indicating that the operation of the center may continue if other resources are made available.  See the statement here.  More information will be posted here as it becomes available.

Enforcement of Drug Free Schools Act May Step Up

The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that the U.S. Department of Education is under increasing pressure to more rigorously enforce the Drug Free Schools and Community Act (DFSCA).  The act requires any institution of higher education that receives any federal funds to abide by certain alcohol and drug policies.  Included among the requirements are notifications to students, faculty and staff, drug-free policy enforcement and a biennial programmatic review.  Failure to comply with the requirements puts at risk all federal funds to the institution.

The Network, along with the Higher Education Center, have long been involved in training campus professionals on the intricacies of compliance.  More information on what's involved can be found at the Higher Education Center website, and at the national Network site.

With many schools needing to complete their biennial review by the end of this year, perhaps this summer is a great time to get familiar with the requirements.

Fresno Conference a Success!

Unofficial attendee counts places this year’s conference at the top. Almost every CSU, and about half of the UCs were represented. We had private and community colleges attending as well.

Next year’s conference will be hosted at CSU Chico. Watch for more information, and remember, this conference is hosted by the CSU system, but is open to all institutions of higher education within California.

A Few Highlights:

Dr. John Clapp, Director of the U.S. Department of Education’s Higher Education Center for Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Violence Prevention spoke about the importance of adapting elaborate evidence-based interventions to fit the limited resources of campuses.

Kimberlee Homer Vagadori, of the California Youth Advocacy Network conducted a session about creating a tobacco-free campus. Amazingly, she ended the presentation letting all those attending know that there’s money available for implementing anti-smoking programs!

The California Coalition for Safer Universities hosted a session in which attendees learned about effective management of large social events. Responsible beverage service, proper security and even ensuring non-alcohol events become a success were discussed.

Slides of all the presentations will be available on the conference website.

If you were there, send me your highlights, or post them on our Facebook page!

Marijuana Follow Up

If you missed my talk on marijuana, or just want to keep the discussion going on marijuana, synthetic marijuana and Salvia divinorum, then sign up for my online webinar at Remember, you can get a free pass to enrollment if you complete your campus survey. Enrollment ends on Monday.

Survey Incentive: Free educational opportunity

Medical Marijuana

We need all the member institutions to complete the member survey.  So to sweeten the pot-- without breaking the Network's nonexistent bank-- I've got a deal for you.  Each campus that completes the survey will be entitled to one free pass to enroll in the iPrevention™ online continuing educational opportunity, What Are They Smoking?: A look at some of the drugs young people are smoking. You can have as many people participate through that enrollment as you'd like. Once you've completed the survey, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and let me know you want to enroll, and I'll give you the details.

An application for CHES/MCHES Category I continuing education contact hours (CECH) has been made to the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc. (NCHEC).  Those wishing to receive any approved contact hours from member institutions that have completed the survey can get $15 off their enrollment fee.