Marijuana use on campus after legalization

In 2023, Minnesota became the 23rd state in the U.S. to legalize recreational cannabis use. However, Minnesota State’s policies still prohibit any kind of use, including medicinal, on campus.

Cannabis can be used to treat a variety of conditions, such as seizures and epilepsy. There are over 50,000 people of all ages with epilepsy in Minnesota. Nevertheless, MSU follows federal regulations which prohibit the use of marijuana.

(Cannabis describes cannabis products in general. Marijuana specifically refers to cannabis products made from the dried flowers, leaves, stems and seeds of the cannabis plant.)

“Even though it is legal in the state of Minnesota as of August 1 of last year, we abide by the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act,” said alcohol/drug sanction education coordinator Natalie Schuette. “And because it’s not federally legalized, we actually cannot allow students, staff and faculty to have the cannabis.”

Schuette said MSU receives federal dollars as a state university. Therefore, MSU cannot have cannabis on campus whether or not there is a prescription.

According to MSU’s Alcohol and Other Drugs policy, which was adopted in September 1995 but amended recently, “While it is now lawful in the State of Minnesota to possess and consume edible cannabinoid products and to possess, transport and use cannabis in certain locations by those individuals 21 years of age or older it is still illegal under federal law, with no exception for medical use. In order to comply with the federal Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act and the Drug-Free Workplace Act, all use, transport and possession of any type or form of marijuana on University property or at University sponsored events is prohibited and violators are subject to disciplinary action if they violate this policy.”

The same policy applies to students living on campus. However, students may be allowed to use cannabis off-campus depending on the landlord’s policies and regulations.

Student Health Services may refer students with prescriptions other than cannabis to the clinic located in the basement of Carkoski Commons.

“We have a mental health therapist and we have several medical providers that would be able to prescribe medication,” said Schuette. “That would be a prescription medication like anti-anxiety, anti-depression medication and then maybe pair that with mental health therapy in the medical clinic. We may also refer to the counseling center.”

Depending on the type of insurance students have, the services can be covered by insurance. For international students, all medications and services on campus are provided by United Healthcare.

Write to Amalia Sharaf at

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