News

FAQs Regarding Marijuana on Campus (Measure 91 and Oregon’s Medical Marijuana Act)
Author: University Communications
Posted: July 1, 2015

Will marijuana use be permitted on Portland State University’s campus after July 1, 2015 because of Measure 91 (allowing Oregonians to grow and possess limited amounts of marijuana for personal use)? 

No. Nothing has changed because PSU is required to comply with federal law on this issue. Accordingly, marijuana, in all forms, including edibles and extracts, and whether for recreational or medicinal uses, remains prohibited under University policies. This new law does not affect Portland State University’s ability to set standards for student or workplace conduct. As a higher-education institution, property owner, and employer, Portland State University has the right to define what conduct is permissible and expected within its community and on its campus. 

What will change on campus after July 1, 2015, when Measure 91 become effective?

Essentially nothing will change. PSU’s policies prohibiting the use and possession of marijuana on campus and in the workplace remain in effect. These polices must remain in place for PSU to continue to receive federal grants, contracts, and funding for financial aid. 

Does Portland State University’s policy prohibiting marijuana use apply to faculty, staff, and visitors to campus for special events?

Yes. The University’s policy prohibits faculty, staff, guests, and visitors from using, possessing, or being under the influence of marijuana while on campus or during University activities. Faculty and staff, including student employees, as well as visitors to campus must comply with the University’s Smoke and Tobacco Free policy, the Alcohol and Drug Free Workplace policy (links set forth below), as well as other policies and rules governing use of campus facilities.

Smoke and Tobacco Free Policy
Alcohol and Drug Free Workplace Policy

Can Portland State University prohibit me from engaging in conduct that is permissible under state law?

Yes. Just because something is legal under Oregon law, it does not mean that the University must permit the conduct within its community or on its campus. 

It is also important to remember that even under State law, marijuana possession and use off campus is still carefully regulated. Persons under 21 years of age may not possess and use recreational marijuana. And, much like open containers of alcohol are prohibited by state law, the open and public use of marijuana will remains unlawful wherever you are.

What is the relationship between the federal laws that prohibit marijuana use and Measure 91? 

Federal laws prohibiting marijuana use trump state laws that attempt to permit the use of marijuana, including Measure 91 and Oregon’s Medical Marijuana Act. Accordingly, if you use or possess marijuana, whether for recreational or medical purposes, you are subject to prosecution under federal law, regardless of what state laws permit. A conviction for drug-use under federal law may cause you to become ineligible for federal financial aid.

If a majority of Oregon voters believe that it is OK to use and grow marijuana, why won't Portland State University relax its policy against marijuana use and possession?

Marijuana is still classified as a controlled substance under federal law and its use remains illegal under federal law. For that reason, permitting its use at Portland State University would violate the federal Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act. Portland State University is required to comply with that Act as a condition of eligibility for federal funding and financial aid programs for its students. 

With respect to employees, including student employees, the University must maintain a drug-free workplace under the federal Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988. If Portland State University fails to comply with the Drug-Free Workplace Act by failing to maintain a workplace free from unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensing, possession, and use of any controlled substance, the University could become ineligible for federal grant funds and contracts. Click the following link to read the University’s Alcohol and Drug-Free University policy.

Can I use medical marijuana on campus?

No. All marijuana use is prohibited, even if the intended purpose is for medicinal reasons. If you are sick or suffering from an illness, you should consult with your physician or visit the Student Health and Counsel Center to discuss appropriate medical treatments. 

For students, this means that you cannot use or possess medical marijuana on campus, including in student housing, or while in class or engaged in any University activity, wherever located. Students may not grow or possess marijuana plants in University housing. This applies even where a person is a medical marijuana cardholder or has authorization from any state to use or possess medical marijuana. 

For employees, the work expectations for medical marijuana are the same as for recreational marijuana. In short, no faculty or staff shall report to work or engage in any University activity while impaired by marijuana or while having the presence of marijuana in their system. This applies to faculty and staff while conducting PSU activities and business, wherever located, and to all persons present on University premises.

Where can I find more information about Measure 91 and Oregon’s Medical Marijuana Program?

Oregon’s Liquor Control Commission is the state agency charged with regulating recreational marijuana in Oregon. Its website is: http://www.oregon.gov/olcc/Pages/index.aspx. The OLCC has published its own FAQs to help people navigate the new laws on recreational marijuana which is at: http://www.oregon.gov/olcc/marijuana/Pages/Frequently-Asked-Questions.aspx.

Separately, the Oregon Health Authority regulates Oregon’s Medical Marijuana Program or OMMP. Its website is: http://public.health.oregon.gov/DiseasesConditions/ChronicDisease/MedicalMarijuanaProgram/Pages/index.aspx.

Keep in mind that Portland State University’s policies are more restrictive than the State’s laws on marijuana as generally described on the State of Oregon’s website. If students have questions about applicability of the University’s policies, they should contact either the Director of Conduct & Community Standards in the Office of the Dean of Student Life or the Housing and Residence Life Office if the question concerns campus housing. Employees with questions should contact their supervisor or Human Resources.