The recreational use of marijuana has officially been legalized as of Monday in Colorado after Gov. Hickenlooper signed Amendment 64 into law. CU officials are advising students not to break out the Cheetos and Goldfish — at least on campus.
An Executive Order signed by Hickenlooper Monday formalizes Amednment 64 as part of the Colorado Constitution. Although still illegal by federal law, marijuana will be regulated in Colo. much like alcohol. Those over the age of 21 will be allowed to purchase small amounts of marijuana for personal use, grow and own up to 6 plants in residences.
According to News West 9’s election results, 55 percent of Colorado citizens voted to legalize marijuana in the Nov. election. CU President Bruce Benson said in an email that was sent out to CU students and faculty on Dec. 7 that he had, “worked on my own time to defeat it.” In the email, Benson said CU stood to loose over $1 billion in federal revenue due to the passing of Amendment 64.
“The glaring practical problem is that we stand to lose significant federal funding,” Benson said in his message. “CU must comply with the federal Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act, which compels us to ban illicit drugs from campus.”
Benson’s statement was later refuted by Colorado Congressman Jared Polis who said in a press release on his website Friday that the legalization of marijuana would not affect CU in any negative way.
“I will not stand by and allow the reputation of the University of Colorado to be sullied by the non-existent threat of losing one billion dollars,” Polis said in the press release. “As the federal representative for the University of Colorado at Boulder, I want to reassure parents, students, and faculty that CU is not in danger of losing any federal funding due to Amendment 64. I call upon President Benson to immediately retract his message and clarify that the University is not in danger of losing any federal funds due to the passage of Amendment 64.”
“The legality of marijuana in Colorado tomorrow will not impact CU any more than the legality of alcohol does today,” Polis said.
Vidya Nair Vasudevan, a 21-year-old junior accounting major, said that Benson should have put more consideration into his statement to the university.
“If he was trying to make a statement, he could have gone about it in a different way,” Vasudevan said. “Personally I don’t support the legalization of marijuana, but I think people can do what they want. Since it’s legal now I don’t think it should be a problem for the university.”
CU has formerly spent approximately $279,000 in an effort to stop the annual 4/20 ‘smoke-out’ that occurs on campus. Last year the money was spent on heavy security measure, a douse of fish fertilizer on Norlin Quad and a Wyclef Jean concert.
Azabe Kassa, a 19-year-old sophomore anthropology major, said that the university should be more apathetic in regards to the marijuana now that it’s legal.
“I think that [CU] wants to keep the credibility and image of the university in good standing,” Kassa said. “The measures that were taken with 4/20 last year were too harsh. I think things like that draw negative attention to the university.”
Esra Gamel, a 19-year-old sophomore international affairs major, said that the university should uphold state law.
“I think CU should take into account what the people voted for,” Gamel said. “Students now have the right to smoke if they want. It shouldn’t be a big deal.”
According to Benson, CU plans to remain drug free despite legalization of marijuana.
“We are not only within our rights to ban marijuana on our campuses, it is the right thing to do.”
Contact CU Independent Breaking News Editor Bethany Morris at Bethany.firstname.lastname@example.org.