Medical marijuana proposal may change Boston University policies and rules.0
Boston University’s policies toward the use of medical marijuana have yet to be decided, officials said Wednesday in response to the preliminary regulations for use of the drug released Friday by the Massachusetts Department of Health.
BU Police Department Detective Lieutenant Peter DiDomenica said if in compliance with any regulations the BU officials might establish, students’ use of medical marijuana would be treated similarly to the use of any other prescription drug.
“If you have a legal right to medication and it’s authorized by law and it’s prescribed to you, you’ll be able to possess it just like any other medication,” he said.
Under the new proposed regulations, licensed physicians would decide whether a patient qualifies to use medical marijuana. Qualified patients would then be permitted a 60-day supply, which amounts to ten ounces of marijuana.
The set of preliminary guidelines also proposes regulation regarding the distribution of medical marijuana, allowing a maximum of 35 dispensaries in Massachusetts and up to five per county.
DiDomenica said although students holding medical marijuana cards may not be cited in a criminal context if they are abiding by the law, the university may create rules restricting the use of medical marijuana.
“It’s a possibility that the university could impose some administrative regulations, just like on weapons,” he said. “You could be licensed to carry a firearm, but you can’t bring that to the university. The school is going to have to work out administrative provisions about how this is handled.”
He also said students with medical marijuana cards will be held responsible using their prescribed marijuana in an inappropriate way.
“There shouldn’t be issues, but if people want to misuse it and use it as an opportunity to bring controlled substances and share, it they’re going to have a big problem,” he said. “They’re going to be violating the law.”
BU spokesman Colin Riley said while BU officials might adopt the marijuana policy, it is too early to say what adaptations will be made to current rules.
“I think it’s premature to know what, if any, changes will be made, but we’ll be guided by Massachusetts state and city officials,” he said.
The regulations proposed by the Department of Public Health are restrictive, said Bill Downing, treasurer of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws’ state affiliate the Massachusetts Cannabis Reform Coalition.
“They want to make sure that doctors don’t prescribe this for other than what they think is reasonable,” he said.
“You’ve got to keep in mind that these are just draft regulations — that none of this stuff has actually been enacted yet,” he said.
Jacquelyn Malis, a College of Communication sophomore, said students with medical marijuana cards should be allowed to have medical marijuana as long as they are not misusing the drug or violating university policies.
“If you have the card, I believe that you should be allowed to exercise that right,” she said. “However, if they start violating the rights, such as selling it for instance, I think that the school can step in and have an issue with it because it’s still illegal in that sense.”
COM junior Mary Bell said students with cards should have a designated location on campus where they can use marijuana for medical purposes.
“If you have a medical marijuana card, then you should be able to smoke somewhere on campus, but not in dorms,” she said.
Bell said the use of medical marijuana in Massachusetts will not affect students who use the drug for recreation already.
“There are students that smoke weed regularly,” she said. “They’re not going to stop doing that or be less cautious about it because it’s legal medically.”
Ella Radcliffe, a College of Arts and Sciences sophomore, said an increased use of marijuana on campus due to medical needs might bother others at the university.
“Most people are cool with walking down Commonwealth [Avenue] and having the person in front of them smoke a cigarette — that’s sort of normal,” Radcliffe said. “There would probably be some people that would be bothered by somebody smoking a joint on the way to class.”