On Wednesday, the Senate approved legislation which will ban use and possession of medical marijuana on college campuses in the state of Arizona. This ban will apply to everyone, including people with state medical marijuana cards.
The House voted 52-2 in favor of the ban.
Arizona’s medical marijuana bill outlawed using medical marijuana in public areas and public schools, but it did not address the use or possession of medical marijuana on college and university campuses.
Some of the legislators who voted for the ban did so because marijuana is illegal federally. Should schools in Arizona allow medical marijuana on their campuses, some lawmakers believe that schools could lose their eligibility for federal grants, loans, and financial aid for students. Others had fears that allowing medical marijuana on campuses would encourage smoking in public buildings.
Democrat Senator Linda Lopez, however, disagreed with the ban. She worries that a ban will lead to discrimination against medical marijuana patients. She also believes that this decision is changing the voter-approved medical marijuana initiative in a way that doesn’t further the intent of the initiative.
Should this point be found to be true, it would be against Arizona’s state constitution, which prohibits legislators from making changes to voter-approved initiatives.
Spokesman for the Arizona Medical Marijuana Association Joe Yuhas explained, “Patients rights aren’t limited to their homes, their workplaces, or, for that matter even schools.” He continued to explain that he is confident that the legislation would be challenged.
Governor Jan Brewer has final say on the measure, and the threat of litigation could be enough to cause her to veto it. Brewer has spoken out about her disapproval of medical marijuana in the past, but recently has made efforts to help Arizona’s program get on its feet.