Washington's pot law stops at the edge of campus

Dec 4, 2012

In just a few days, smoking marijuana won’t be much different from drinking a glass of wine, as far as state law is concerned. But in what may be the place most associated with pot-smoking – the dorm room – it will still be banned.

Any institution of higher learning that gets federal funding, including student financial aid, has to comply with the federal Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act, and that law won’t change a bit on Thursday. The University of Washington is reminding students of the rules this week. Spokesman Norm Arkans said he thinks the message will get across, eventually.

“There may be a little dust up when it becomes legal to possess and consume, and some students may try to test, you know, what that means. But I think essentially things will remain much the way they are,” Arkans said.

Other Washington colleges and universities, from Evergreen to Pacific Lutheran to Seattle Central, also said their rules would not change. That federal law requires schools to show they are actively working to prevent drug use on campus. Students off-campus are free to follow the new state law, but anyone with federal financial aid risks losing it if convicted of a drug offense.