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Cannabis remains prohibited on college campuses despite state legalization

Elsa Olofsson

While New York state recently legalized marijuana for recreational use, that doesn’t mean it’s legal everywhere.

Most colleges in central New York already don’t allow smoking tobacco on their campuses and at Onondaga Community College, that prohibition is upheld for marijuana too.

“Marijuana possession and its use is prohibited on our campus,” said Roger Mirabito, OCC’s Executive Director of Communications. “It was before the law. It is now after the law takes effect. So for us, nothing has changed.”

The laws he referred to are the federal Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act and the Drug-Free Workplace Act which prohibit drug use on college campuses. At the State University of New York, of which OCC is a branch, that federal law is upheld on all SUNY and CUNY campuses.

“Under those requirements, along with existing SUNY policy, the use, possession, cultivation, and sale of cannabis remains prohibited on SUNY campuses and is subject to code of conduct or disciplinary actions,” said Holly Liapis, a representative of the college network.

At Syracuse University, one of the private universities in central New York, things aren’t much different.

“Despite this change in state law, Syracuse University will continue to comply with federal law, which prohibits all use, possession, and/or cultivation of marijuana at U.S. educational institutions, including private institutions that receive federal funding,” the university’s Dean of Students, Marianne Thomson, said in a statement to students.

Cannabis consumption is not exclusive to smoking though, edibles are also a popular vessel for it. However, Mirabito said even edible consumption is prohibited on OCC’s campus per federal law.

“Whether you're smoking it or whether it's one of the edible products, they're prohibited on our campus,” said Mirabito.

Madison Ruffo received a Master’s Degree from the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism, where she specialized in audio and health/science reporting. Madison has extensively covered the environment, local politics, public health, and business. When she’s not reporting, you can find Madison reading, hiking, and spending time with her family and friends.