On Feb. 22nd, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed into law the legalization of cannabis for both medical use and recreational use. On March 18, Mary Anne Nagy, Vice President for Student Life and Leadership Engagement, sent out an email to all Monmouth University students regarding the new legalization of non-medical marijuana for people age 21 and older. The email stated that the University will not permit the use of marijuana on campus or at University-owned properties. The email also mentioned that the University is subject to the Federal Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act.
Nagy also provided a statement from the law which is, “Consumption of marijuana is prohibited in any area of any building of, on the grounds of, or in any facility owned, leased, or controlled by, any public or private institution of higher education or a related entity thereof, regardless of whether the area or facility is an indoor place or is outdoors.”
Most of the Outlook editors agreed with Monmouth University’s decision to maintain a ban on recreational marijuana on campus.
One editor said, “I do agree with Monmouth’s decision as they are a private institution and can make their own choices. I think it was banned for the same reason you cannot smoke and drink on campus. They want a clean campus, free of any questionable substances.”
Another editor said, “As per Nagy’s email, the reasoning for this is because the law states that marijuana is a substance 1 drug, which the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) defines as ‘drugs with high abuse potential.’ Although Nagy didn’t say this in the email, I think another reason for this pan on campus is its possible effects on students’ education.”
Most editors believe that it will not be allowed on campus in the future. However, one believes that it will be allowed.
They said, “I’m sure one day it will be allowed on campus, but only if it is federally legal. I don’t mean decriminalized; I mean completely legal. That is the only way Monmouth could absolve themselves of any responsibility when it comes to it.”
The other editors believe it will not be allowed on campus in the future due to some stigma around it.
“I don’t think it will be allowed in future years. However, the stigma around it has been decreasing over the past few years and will probably decrease more so in the years to come,” said one editor.
Another editor said, “I do not see it being allowed in the future because people come here to learn, not to smoke.”
Some editors are happy with the state’s decision to legalize marijuana, despite the University’s stance on it. Meanwhile, a few editors feel indifferent about the decision because they do not smoke, so it does not affect them personally.
“I don’t smoke, but I know a lot of people who are happy because they don’t have to be afraid of getting arrested all of the time,” said an editor.
One editor also said they are incredibly happy about marijuana becoming legalized.
“The war on drugs has been a massive failure for the United States. Minorities are arrested for marijuana at extremely larger rates than whites despite similarly reported usage numbers,” they said. “If something as destructive as alcohol can be promoted in our society, then it’s only fair that another substance, which actually does less damage to you, is allowed as well.”
Another editor feels that people are still going to partake in marijuana use, with or without legalization. However, they said that if it can have some positive effects, like an improved economy especially after the pandemic, then that would be a good thing.
They said, “I think marijuana use should be held to the same standards as alcohol use—age limit of 21, no driving while under the influence, etc.—for safety reasons.”
PHOTO COURTESY of Monmouth University