Marijuana Policy Unchanged Despite New VT Law
By ELIZABETH SAWYER
February 14, 2018
Middlebury will continue to prohibit marijuana use and possession on campus despite Vermont’s legalization of the drug on Jan. 22. Hannah Ross, the college’s general counsel, sent a school-wide email reiterating the policy three days after Gov. Phil Scott signed H. 511 into law.
Ross cited the risk of losing federal funding and a concern for student health as motivation to uphold the current policy in her email.
“Middlebury is at risk of losing federal dollars, including Title IV financial aid funds for students, if we allow cannabis on campus,” Ross wrote. “We also are cognizant of the research done at UVM and elsewhere which indicates that even recreational use of cannabis has significant negative impacts on knowledge retention and brain development of individuals under the age of 29.”
Vermont is the latest state to legalize marijuana, and the first to do so by legislature rather than by voter referendum. Recreational use is already legal in Alaska, California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Maine, Nevada, Oregon, Washington and the District of Columbia. Colleges in these states have also left policies that prohibit marijuana unchanged so as to abide by federal law.
On Jan. 22, the day Scott signed the legislation, students at the University of Vermont received an email from Wendy Koenig, the university’s director of federal and state relations, announcing that the university’s policy prohibiting marijuana would remain in effect. Bowdoin, Colby and Bates Colleges in Maine, as well as Williams, Amherst and Tufts in Massachusetts, have retained their marijuana prohibition policies in order to remain in compliance with federal law.
But a Feb. 8 article in The Williams Record reported that though the college’s policy prohibiting marijuana was still in effect, “the College will no longer contact the Williamstown Police Department (WPD) for all