On election day this past Tuesday, Colorado voters passed a constitutional amendment – Amendment 64 – that allows people 21 or over to cultivate, consume and possess limited amounts of marijuana. There have been a number of questions about the impact of the amendment on the University community, and this Q&A addresses a few of these questions.
1. When will Amendment 64 become law and how does the amendment affect CU?
Election results are expected to be certified by Dec. 6, 2012, with the law going into effect 30 days after that. The amendment does not alter existing campus policies that prohibit the possession, use, and distribution of marijuana by students, employees, and all other visitors on university property. Nor does the amendment change CU’s obligation to comply with the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 or the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act Amendments of 1989, which requires the University, as a recipient of federal funds, to take measures to combat the use of drugs and alcohol. Relevant policies can be found here: http://hr.colorado.edu/pages/alcohol-and-drug-policy.aspx
2. Will CU relax marijuana enforcement as a result of Amendment 64?
No. Again, the law’s provisions will be implemented over the next several months, but we fully anticipate that marijuana will remain a banned substance for all CU students under 21, all CU students living in residence halls, and all Division I student-athletes under NCAA’s prohibited substances provisions. The passage of the law does not permit use of marijuana on university grounds, in university buildings, facilities, or public areas, and the law itself proscribes careful parameters for personal use and cultivation with which people should familiarize themselves.
3. Will Colorado’s medical marijuana laws change as a result of Amendment 64?
These are unchanged and remain in effect, and the laws do not permit the possession and use of marijuana on campus.
4. Does the passage of Amendment 64 mean that smoking marijuana at the 4/20 gathering is now legal?
A: No. Amendment 64 still prohibits the public consumption of marijuana. The University still opposes the 4/20 gathering because it disrupts the academic proceedings and the conduct of basic business at the university, not because of the legal or illegal status of marijuana. The University will continue measures it began last year to curtail the event on campus.
5. Does Amendment 64 mean I can use marijuana in my residence hall on campus or elsewhere on campus if I’m at least 21?
No. Residence halls, by contractual arrangement with residents, are smoke-free environments. Cultivation or use of marijuana in CU residence halls is prohibited as a basic condition of signing a housing contract. Students who are at least 21 and who live off campus can cultivate and possess small amounts of marijuana under the law, and should familiarize themselves with those portions of the law that govern these activities.
6. Why won’t the university simply follow state law and legalize marijuana everywhere on campus?
While Amendment 64 allows those 21 and older to possess and cultivate limited amounts of marijuana for personal use, that provision conflicts with federal law, which still makes marijuana a controlled substance. CU has an obligation to comply with the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 and the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act Amendments of 1989, which require the University, as a recipient of federal funds, to take measures to combat the use of drugs and alcohol.
7. Does the passage of Amendment 64 mean that I can’t be busted under the university’s code of conduct for marijuana use if I'm at least 21?
Not necessarily. Students 21 and older must still abide by all campus rules prohibiting marijuana usage on campus or while driving a motor vehicle on campus. Those who use or cultivate marijuana in their private, off-campus residences must do so under the guidelines of the law.
8. Does the passage of Amendment 64 mean if I’ve received a ticket for smoking marijuana on campus that that ticket is now void?
No. Citations issued by law enforcement agencies prior to the voters’ approval of the amendment remain valid. The same is true for any Office of Student Conduct violations and sanctions.