Can You Be Expelled For Marijuana in CO?

When you’re a student in college, often the campus is the center of your life. As you work toward your degree, the campus is where you take classes, but it’s also the beehive of your social universe.

Universities in Colorado tend to give quite a lot of latitude when it comes to rules. After all, college students are adults learning to navigate the world, so it’s vital to give students some room to grow. However, college campuses cannot get out of following local or federal laws on their campuses.

In Colorado, recreational marijuana is legal. But does that mean it’s OK to have marijuana on a college campus if you are over the age of 21? Do the universities and colleges across Colorado have different policies than what is inscribed in state law? Read on to find out.

College Campus Cannabis Rules

Despite the fact that Colorado legalized cannabis in 2012 for recreational use, students who attend universities and colleges in Colorado are not allowed to use or possess marijuana on campus – unless they have a valid medical marijuana card.

Under the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act, institutions that receive federal funds, like universities, have to fight illegal drug use on their campuses. Marijuana remains illegal federally, so, under this rule, it essentially doesn’t matter that cannabis is legal on a state level. As long as it remains illegal on by federal statutes, it will remain illegal on campuses, which must abide by federal law.

The administrators of universities in Colorado have no choice but to make the possession and use of marijuana on campus against the rules. So, while students may not have to face any criminal charges for possessing or using marijuana on campus, they may still be punished by the school administration.

This simply highlights the divide that exists now between state and federal laws regarding marijuana. Basically, it can cause students who are acting in a responsible and legal way in the state to be punished under punitive federal measures.

Is It Possible to Be Expelled for Marijuana?

Every university or college campus in Colorado has its own established rules of conduct. In them, they lay out policies regarding the use of marijuana.

The University of Denver, for example, is a smoke-free campus. That means that you cannot smoke cigarettes or marijuana on campus. This is one example of why it’s important to familiarize yourself with the rules set forth by the university where you may be a student. You need to evaluate what the consequences may be for marijuana use, including expulsion.

Something else you may want to think about: While the rules do prohibit something, when it comes down to it, the school may simply look a different way. If you discreetly consume cannabis products, then they may not care that you’re using them on campus. If, however, you are irresponsible, you may find there is a different result.

Colorado Marijuana Laws

It may be tempting to think that nothing is going to happen if you’ve seen others on campus partaking in marijuana, but don’t fall into a false sense of security. The reality is that, if the policies of the school consider cannabis a violation, you can be punished – which includes being expelled – for using it if you are caught.

No matter what, if you are caught with cannabis on campus when it is against school policy, you run the risk of serious consequences to your academic career – and even federal drug charges. So proceed with caution, and talk to an attorney.


About the Author:

Andrew Bryant is a well-respected Colorado Springs criminal attorney who has been practicing in the area for years. A Colorado native, he returned to the home he loves after graduating from the University of Kentucky College of Law. Now, he uses the knowledge he gained as an El Paso County District Attorney to fight tirelessly for his clients’ rights. He is AV-Preeminent rated, has been recognized for his work by The National Trial Lawyers, and has been named to Best of the Springs lists by The Gazette for years.