Virginia Tech has updated its student code of conduct to ban the use and possession of cannabis on campus, despite the state’s legalization law set to take effect July 1, the Roanoke Times reports. The changes are similar to policies implemented by other colleges and universities that receive federal funding as allowing use could be a violation of the federal Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act.
Off-campus cannabis use and possession is not included in the directive, so students 21-and-older who use or possess cannabis off school property would not be in violation of the new rules. Students are unlikely to face suspension for violating the policy, but could be subject to academic probation, have to meet with a drug counselor or write an essay about the incident and alcohol and drug safety.
Virginia Tech spokesman Mark Owczarski said that the school’s policies “must be aligned” with both federal and state law.
“In most cases, state and federal law is similar or the same, which aids in the clarity of university policies. In this case, state and federal laws will have differences, and when that happens, we still to have to make sure our policies align to both, even though they are different.”—Owczarski to the Times
Other colleges and universities in the state have not yet—or have no plans—to make changes to their codes of conduct, the report says.
Radford University spokesman Justin Ward told the Times that it is “evaluating appropriate sanctions and educational campaigns” to ensure its policies reduce “negative consequences related to substance abuse and promote student success.”
Virginia Commonwealth University spokesman Corey Byers indicated the school’s code of conduct already prohibits cannabis use and that university administrators will be reviewing the student code of conduct to reconcile unclear language regarding state [versus] federal law.”
The University of Virginia said it would review the implications of the Legislature-approved law and would make any necessary changes by July 1. James Madison University indicated it would remain in compliance with federal law banning cannabis on campus.
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