On campus policy on marijuana

Nick Alutto

By Nick Alutto
Managing Editor of A&E

On January 1st, 2020, recreational marijuana was legalized for all people over the age of 21 in the state of Illinois. This change in legislation followed the lead of ten other states over the past couple of years, after a significant change in cultural opinions and beliefs on the drug and other topics, such as the war on drugs.
This new law in Illinois creates the need for new rules to be made surrounding the faculty at LFA. LFA has a large population of faculty who live on campus, whether it be in apartments attached to dorms in close proximity to students or in nearby housing. Likewise, LFA already has rules in place regarding drugs for LFA faculty that are available for staff to view in the faculty and staff handbook. LFA faculty who live on campus are allowed to have alcohol on campus as long as it is contained in their private residences, and if they stay in their homes while under the influence.
Furthermore, LFA is a non-smoking campus. This means that, regardless of legality, faculty are not allowed to smoke any substances on campus, including vapes and e-cigarettes. Due to this, smoking marijuana is not allowed on LFA’s campus even though it is legal. Since smoking and e-cigarettes are not allowed on campus, the only way that marijuana use would be permitted would be in edible form.
Mrs. Paisley, LFA’s Director of Human Resources, said, “when it comes to marijuana use, they can not be under any influence on the campus around any other people. So, just like [the rules surrounding] alcohol, you can’t go walking around if you have had a couple of drinks in your house. You can’t go then socialize with students, go in the dorms, or go hang out in the student union. You just can’t do that. So, we would treat it [marijuana] the same.”
In the faculty handbook for 2019-2020, which was updated this year to reflect the upcoming changes in law regarding the legality of marijuana in Illinois, it states that for faculty on campus they are prohibited from, “using marijuana (unless medically prescribed) while on the Academy premises except at private social gatherings in faculty homes on campus.”
Essentially, the rules surrounding marijuana are the same for faculty as those surrounding alcohol, except faculty cannot smoke marijuana the same as they are not allowed to smoke anything else on campus.
Although the rules are following those that have been in place for legal drugs in the past at LFA, it still adds a new dimension to the choice that faculty have to make when deciding whether they should live on-campus or not.
When asked about the choices and sacrifices that on-campus faculty makes, Mrs. Krause, a dorm parent at LFA, said. “When people discuss living on campus or talk about living on campus there is always a discussion about there being great cost and benefits, so it is always considered a lifestyle choice…The legal pot use in Illinois adds another dimension to those choosing to live on campus because you are now committing to following the rules of not smoking marijuana. It heightens the weight of that choice and the commitment of that choice.”