In 2016, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf signed a law that legalized the use of medical marijuana in the state. In June 2017, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Pennsylvania Department of Health awarded 27 companies licenses to open up dispensaries around the state.
According to a report from CNN, medical marijuana is used to reduce pain, as well as the symptoms associated with multiple sclerosis, epilepsy and Alzheimer’s disease. Cannabidiol, an active chemical in marijuana, offers numerous health benefits, according to The Washington Post.
With the evidence supporting medical marijuana, along with the legalization across Pennsylvania, Temple needs to enact a policy that allows students with a state-issued medical marijuana card to safely use the substance on Main Campus.
A student with a medical marijuana card who wishes to remain anonymous has reached out to Temple administrators inquiring about their rights to access and use medical marijuana on campus, but has been left without answers.
“The City of Philadelphia effectively decriminalized possession of marijuana by reducing penalties and consequences for personal-use quantities of marijuana,” university spokesman Brandon Lausch wrote in an email. “As a result, Temple is monitoring regulatory guidance on how best to synchronize its policies with all current laws.”
Since the university is eager to be up to date with Philadelphia laws, it should take the same approach when creating an on-campus medical marijuana policy.
“The city of Philadelphia is doing the same, and there’s an active discussion with all businesses,” said Chris Goldstein, a journalism instructor who teaches the class Marijuana in the News. “How do we accommodate patients in the workplace?”
Enacting an on-campus medical marijuana policy should be obvious. This is a health need that should be addressed immediately.
Massachusetts also legalized the use of medical marijuana in 2012. To accommodate students with a medical need for marijuana, Tufts University enacted a policy that offers students a way to fulfill their medicinal needs.
Tufts doesn’t allow the use of marijuana on campus, but students with a medical marijuana card are permitted to submit a letter to the dean of student affairs to end their on-campus housing leases and relocate to an area off campus to use their medical marijuana.
Arizona also made the distinction between medical marijuana use and recreational use by decriminalizing medical use and allowing it on college campuses.
Temple should follow the lead set forth by these universities and allow students to safely use medical marijuana.
“I think they should [create a policy],” said Goldstein, who also writes a regular column on marijuana use for the Philadelphia Inquirer. “It’s something I’ve been bringing up with members of the administration and student government. It affects anyone, whether you’re a tuition-paying student or a staff or faculty member.”
As of 2014, recreational marijuana use has been more accepted in Philadelphia. If students will not always be legally disciplined for having recreational marijuana off campus, they should not be disciplined for having or using their medical marijuana on or off campus.
With Philadelphia’s acceptance of recreational marijuana, as well as the state of Pennsylvania’s acceptance of medical marijuana use, students should not have to fear being reprimanded by Temple.
Temple needs to initiate a policy that invites students to safely use their medical marijuana throughout the school day if need be. It is unfair to make students wonder about their medical rights, especially in a city where marijuana use is widely accepted and understood.