Legal Weed Won’t Reach NYU

Despite state politicians suggesting that marijuana reform may come to New York, NYU will not change its current policy against the drug, the university says.


Alina Patrick

Student smokes a lit cigarette. (Staff Photo by Alina Patrick)

Victor Porcelli , News Editor

New York state is likely to legalize recreational marijuana for adults 21 and over, but if you’re an of-age student, don’t break out your bong yet — NYU will continue to ban on-campus weed use, no matter what state law says.

After the midterm elections, Democrats obtained a majority in the State Senate and kept both the Assembly and Governorship, leaving them in control of all three levels of state government. Progressive policies have since filled the agenda, including marijuana reform.

Governor Andrew Cuomo’s address included legalizing weed in his agenda for the first 100 days of his new term, Mayor Bill de Blasio detailed his proposal for the legalization process in a 71-page report and Liz Krueger, a State Senator representing Manhattan, introduced the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act to the Senate.

However, even if marijuana becomes legal in New York state, NYU will continue to ban the drug, according to university spokesperson Shonna Keogan.

“While marijuana for medical and recreational purposes has been authorized in several states, the Drug Free Schools and Communities Act, a Federal law, still classifies marijuana as an illegal substance and requires that schools prohibit it on campus,” Keogan wrote in a statement to WSN. “Therefore, in compliance with Federal law, NYU does not permit possession, use, or distribution of marijuana in any form for any purpose on campus.”

This has been the standard for other colleges in states that have legalized marijuana, as going against federal law risks repercussions from the federal government. Namely, the federal government could revoke funding to the university, such as research grants or FAFSA.

CAS sophomore Malak Enayetallah said NYU continuing the ban would be unsurprising, although she thinks use will continue nonetheless.

“I don’t think it matters too much because people are still gonna do it on campus regardless of NYU’s rule,” Enayetallah wrote in a message to WSN. “But I think it makes sense for NYU to ban it if they’re also not allowing cigarette smoking or alcohol use on campus.”

Global Liberal Studies sophomore Emma Welch said although she understands why NYU may continue to ban marijuana use, she believes that blurred lines between city and campus may make it difficult to do so.

“If weed is legal for those over 21 then I think it should be as such on campus, especially since the boundaries of campus and city are so loose at NYU,” Welch wrote in a Facebook message to WSN.

Despite the policy, Welch feels NYU does little to enforce the ban currently.

“It’s also widely known that the enforcement is generally relaxed, so many kids smoke in the dorms and whatnot without too many issues,” she said. “For example, my floor in Third North smelled like a dispensary all year long, glaringly obvious but seemingly unnoticed by any NYU enforcement.”

Email Victor Porcelli at [email protected].