PA Recreational Marijuana Will Not Apply at Dickinson

Sarah Manderbach ’22, Staff Writer

Students have expressed interest in the possible legalization of recreational marijuana in Pennsylvania, an initiative for which Pa. Governor Tom Wolf has voiced his support. However, even if recreational marijuana is legalized in the state, it will not impact the policy of Dickinson College regarding marijuana usage on campus.

Dee Danser, Chief of the Department of Public Safety (DPS), said however Dickinson must comply to the “Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 and the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act of 1989 and its amendments,” according to the Drug and Alcohol Policy on campus.

Danser explained that even if the state’s policy on marijuana is changed, the policy of the school will not change. “Dickinson is required to follow federal law. Marijuana use is illegal under federal law and permitting its use at Dickinson College would violate the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act.” If the school does not follow that act, it could become “ineligible for federal funding and financial aid programs for its students.”

Danser also mentioned that this practice is the same for other schools across the nation, even in “places like Colorado and California where recreational marijuana is legal,” she said.

Several students spoke in favor of the possible change in state policy. “I think that it should be legalized […], it can bring a lot of aid to people,” said Jalee Lopez ’21, “if it’s legalized there will be a lot greater benefits for society because I don’t think that it will ever be removed entirely from Earth, so regulation is definitely a good step forward, making it more accessible and less harmful to others.” 

“I do think it should be legal,” said Andrew Howe ’22, “I think that it’s a lot less harmful than drugs that are already legal.” 

Henry Degarmo ’22 said, “people forget that besides use for recreational purposes hemp practically acts as a miracle plant with all its uses.”

However, other students expressed concerns about the potential legalization. Maitland Witmer ’22 is opposed to the potential legalization, stating “marijuana is a gateway drug and once people are no longer stratified with the high, they will move onto harder drugs. Then what? We legalize those harder drugs, too?”

“I think that there should be an age restriction,” Howe added, “there is incomplete data about its long-term effects on your mental capacity and because there’s incomplete data, it is wise to keep an age restriction”

Tom Wolf, along with Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman, announced in late September after returning from a tour to gather opinions on recreational marijuana use in Pennsylvania. According to Wolf’s website, that “65-70% (of Pennsylvanians) were approving of adult-use cannabis”, a “near unanimous support for mass expungement of non-violent and small cannabis-related offenses,” and also near unanimous support for “removing cannabis as a Schedule 1 Drug.” Fetterman and Wolf explained that there is economic potential for the legalization of recreational marijuana, as it would help create jobs if grown on Pennsylvania farms. 

To pass a law allowing recreational marijuana use, the bill must “decriminalize non-violent and cannabis related offenses,” expunging those that have been charged with these offenses, and calling on the General Assembly to “seriously debate and consider the legalization of adult-use recreational marijuana.” Adult-use will mean it will only be available to those over the age of 21.

However, Republican lawmakers in the state House of Representatives say they have “no plans or interest in legalizing recreational marijuana,” according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.