Gage Skidmore

Arizona Supreme Court Tosses Law Criminalizing MMJ Possession on College Campuses

The Arizona Supreme Court has ruled that the state cannot criminally charge public college students for possessing and using cannabis on campus if they have a medical cannabis card, according to an AZCentral report. The court ruled that the 2012 Legislature-approved law violated the state constitution’s protections for voter-approved laws.

The court also tossed the conviction of the plaintiff. Andre Maestas was arrested in 2014 for obstructing traffic after he was found sitting in an intersection. During a search of his wallet, police found his medical cannabis card and Maestas admitted to having a small amount of cannabis in his dorm room. The police search yielded 0.4 grams – far less than the 2.5 ounces medical cannabis cardholders are allowed by law to possess.

The voter-approved 2010 medical cannabis law included language that barred medical cannabis use and possession from Pre-K through high school, and on school buses, but it did not include college campuses.

Colleges have their own rules and most of them, even in legal states, ban cannabis use and possession. The high court ruling effectively expunges the 2012 Legislature-passed law but does not shield medical cannabis patients – or adults 21-and-older in states with recreational-use laws – from disciplinary actions by a college for violating their rules.

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