The Network National

Login Form

The News

Marijuana Legalization

Proposition 19, which would have legalized marijuana in California did not pass, and thus campuses have now avoided being placed in the awkward middle ground between federal Drug Free Schools and Community Act requirements and state liberalization. However, institutions of higher education still face this conflict with medical marijuana and it seems likely that similar efforts to legalize marijuana will reappear until successful.

Indeed, on January 1st, SB 1449 will take effect making marijuana possession an infraction punishable by only a $100 fine. This eliminates court appearances for those with an ounce of marijuana or less, and thus also eliminates a large percentage of court-ordered marijuana referrals to treatment.

Assembly Bill 9 of the special session is also still active and, if passed, will in fact legalize marijuana in more generous terms than Proposition 19 would have. So it behooves all of us to stay informed on the policy debates around marijuana, as it is an active area with many changes afoot. Ideally the prevention community and public health experts will become actively involved in shaping policy. Proposition 19 may have failed because it did not address important concerns; perhaps most importantly impaired driving. But in reality, we must improve marijuana impaired enforcement and prevention within the current decriminalized environment. Medical marijuana patients should not be driving impaired; nor should those who are factoring an occasional $100 fine into their marijuana budget. Even if the legalization pendulum of history has proven slower than some may have thought, Proposition 19 should be a wake-up call for all of us to actively seek solutions to the harms associated with marijuana use.