In the Pomona College Student Handbook, the drug policy states, “All Pomona College students are expected to comply with federal, state, and local laws.” However, when two of these laws are in direct conflict, as is the case with the federal and California state laws regarding medical marijuana use, this policy becomes confusing to students.
Pomona’s Student Affairs Committee (SAC) notified the student body this week via e-mail of a proposal to change the language of the drug policy to clarify that “marijuana use on campus is prohibited even if the student’s use meets the qualifications of the California Compassionate Use Act.”
While it is difficult to believe that many Pomona students had been under the impression that medical marijuana was permitted on campus, the delayed nature of this clarification created a feeling among some students that the policy was in fact being altered rather than merely elucidated. This clarification would have better served the campus community if it had been proposed in a timely manner after the enactment of said act (Proposition 215) in 1996.
Beyond the tardiness of the committee’s proposal and the ensuing uncertainty as to whether the proposal was indeed a mere clarification, this editorial board proposes a re-examination of the policy itself.
The proposed language states any “student who qualifies for compassionate use under state law may speak with the Dean of Campus Life regarding the application process to live off campus.” Yet Pomona is an institution that prides itself on its on-campus housing guarantee for students during their four years, and also on its accommodations and resources for students with mental and physical disabilities. We suggest that the school offer an accommodating process for students who have a genuine need for medical marijuana as a form of treatment no different than narcotic pain medication.
We propose that, instead of automatically alienating students who may need medical marijuana, the school allow those who carry a card for a valid medical need to meet with a dean and gain administrative recognition of their situation.