Linfield Magazine
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Linfield Magazine

Generation green

Linfield’s current students are the first to come of age in a time of legal marijuana. What does that mean for campus life?

A complex legal picture

Nearly five years ago, Oregon made it legal for people 21 and older to use marijuana not just for medical reasons, but also for recreation. While our state has seen a boom in cannabis-related businesses — with dispensaries popping up in communities from the coast to the Wallowas — it’s still illegal for most students because they’re underage. And there’s another big barrier: The federal Drug Enforcement Administration still classifies marijuana as a Schedule I drug, meaning it’s a controlled substance with high potential for abuse. For those reasons, marijuana use and possession isn’t allowed on Linfield campuses, said Jeff Mackay ’88, the university’s dean of students. “Our policy is no different than before. It has not changed because the federal law hasn’t changed.”

Like alcohol, but different

Linfield’s student policy guide specifies that any member of the university community who uses or possesses drugs, including “marijuana, marijuana oil, food products, etc.,” is subject to disciplinary action. The policy, Mackay said, treats students who break it just like students who run afoul of the campus rules on alcohol use.

The road ahead

For many reasons, including the funding issues at stake, Hudak predicts most colleges will maintain strict rules about marijuana, even as more states make it legal for adults. “There’s reason to believe that even in the face of broader legalization many colleges will continue to have outright bans,” he said.

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Linfield University

A university that connects the liberal arts with practical education through collaborative, service and experiential learning opportunities.