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FAQs about Marijuana / Cannabis

The possession or use of marijuana/cannabis is prohibited on all campus property, including residence halls, any vehicles, and parking lots. Monmouth College in Monmouth, Illinois, is a private, liberal arts institution affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA) and dedicated to preparing students for rich personal and professional lives. Also, as a condition of receiving funds or any other form of financial assistance under any federal program, Section 1213 of the Higher Education Act requires Monmouth College to implement a drug prevention program that imposes disciplinary sanctions on students and employees consistent with local, state and federal law. Although the use of marijuana is legal in the State of Illinois, it remains a Schedule I illegal drug under Federal law 

FAQs about Marijuana/Cannabis 

  1. The State of Illinois has legalized marijuana, so it’s OK to smoke or consume cannabis if I want, right?
  2. No. Federal laws override state laws. That means even though the state will not charge adults 21 and older with a crime for smoking marijuana after January 1, 2020, students are still subject to federal laws. As such, students can face federal prosecution and a conviction of drug use. This could result in the loss of individual federal financial aid. It is important to remember that it remains illegal in Illinois to distribute cannabis without a license.

    Monmouth College believes that the use of cannabis undermines the mission of an educational institution, has unknown risks to physical and mental health, and will jeopardize students’ eligibility to receive federal financial aid.

  1. What does cannabis have to do with my financial aid?
  2. Colleges whose students receive federal financial aid – such as Pell grants, federally subsidized  student loans and Parent PLUS loans – must comply with the Drug-Free and Safe Communities Act of 1988. The act requires institutions who receive aid and want to remain eligible for federal research money to comply with federal laws. At this time, cannabis is considered illegal by the federal government.

  1. Can Monmouth College prohibit something that Illinois says is legal, so long as I’m 21 or older?
  2. Yes. The new state law specifically allows colleges and universities to prohibit the use of cannabis:

    (d) Nothing in this Act shall require an individual or business entity to violate the provisions of federal law, including colleges or universities that must abide by the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act Amendments of 1988, that require campuses to be drug free.

  1. If I go across the street and smoke on the sidewalk, then I’ll be safe because I will be off campus.
  2. No. The Scot’s Guide “Disciplinary Procedures” apply whether you are on or off campus, are participating in College-sponsored trips or activities, or attending co-curricular events. The Scot’s Guide “Disciplinary Procedures” have been updated to reflect this. Students who choose to use marijuana elsewhere need to check local laws, as the state law allows Illinois counties and cities to prohibit dispensaries and related businesses; also, any business or property owner retains the right to prohibit the possession or use of cannabis.

    Local residents include families with children, the elderly and others who deserve our respect. Additionally, the Illinois law does not permit use of marijuana in public. Local law enforcement officials have the right to ticket you for public use, just as they would if you were consuming alcohol on a public sidewalk.

  1. What if I live off-campus? Can I grow marijuana plants, if my landlord says it’s OK?
  2. The Scot’s Guide applies to student behavior on and off campus; students are expected to comply with the College’s expectations. The possession or use of cannabis anywhere is prohibited by the College.

  1. Am I allowed to use marijuana if I have a medical marijuana card?
  2. Marijuana is considered illegal at the federal level; therefore, all marijuana use on campus is prohibited, regardless of where you received your card or how long you have used marijuana medicinally. Students with medical conditions that have been approved for medical marijuana by their provider should discuss alternative treatments that don’t violate federal law.

  1. But what about the medical benefits of marijuana?
  2. Many studies and health care providers suggest that cannabis is a viable treatment for some medical conditions. However, because marijuana has been illegal for so many years, very little research has been conducted on what harm it may cause over the long-term. Remember, reasonable people once thought that smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol while pregnant were perfectly fine – until so many children were born underweight or with fetal alcohol syndrome and certain disabilities. There isn’t enough science to say definitively that cannabis is safe for everyone or even that it is healthy to use.

  1. What if I qualify as a person with a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.
  2. The College welcomes students and others with disabilities and seeks to remove barriers to their academic and personal success. The College also reserves the right to approve only those accommodations that are deemed “reasonable.”  Putting the College’s mission and students’ ability to receive federally financial aid at risk is an unreasonable accommodation. We encourage you to talk with your health care provider and the Director of Student Success and Accessibility  to discuss alternative treatments and to seek reasonable accommodations that comply with College policy.

  1. How does the Illinois law apply to College employees and campus visitors?
  2. The College’s employee policies govern behavior in the workplace, on campus, at all campus events, and at off-campus activities sponsored by the College. Employees who are convicted of a felony, at the state or federal level, face discipline. Faculty and staff with questions about the use or possession of marijuana should consult with their supervisor or area vice president.

    Guests and visitors are obligated to respect College policies. Those who violate our policies may be asked to leave; failure to do so could result in legal action.