Editorial: Rowan needs to push for federal legalization of marijuana

University of Colorado, Boulder students gather on campus to celebrate 4/20. - Photo via Wikipedia Commons

Almost instantly after New Jersey legalized recreational marijuana usage, Rowan University introduced a slew of educational programs in business, medicine and chemistry focusing on the integration of cannabis into professional fields. 

In an interview with Rowan Today, Sue Lehrman, Ph.D., the dean of the Rohrer College of Business, states that this is because “There is also strong and growing demand for ancillary businesses that complement and serve the fast-growing cannabis industry in New Jersey and beyond.”

However, possession of marijuana or marijuana paraphernalia on Rowan’s campus can result in “arrest, fines, loss of housing without refund, termination of employment, mandatory assignment to substance counseling, suspension and/or expulsion,” according to the Medical Marijuana FAQ from Rowan’s Office of Accessibility Services. 

This means that even if a student is studying the cannabis industry and is surrounded by that culture, or if a student legally uses and obtains medical marijuana via a medical ID under the New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act, it’s mere presence on campus can completely uproot a student’s life and academic dreams. 

Because Rowan University receives federal grant money, it must follow federal law and is therefore subjected to the Controlled Substances Act, which classifies marijuana as a schedule one drug with “no accepted medical use” and a “high potential” for abuse. Another drug that has the same classification is heroin. 

These discrepancies between federal and New Jersey state law are extremely volatile for Rowan students — especially as Rowan attracts students interested in the cannabis industry, students from out-of-state and international students. 

Not only must students navigate the differences between state and federal law on campus, but also the laws of their home state or country. What may be legal in a student’s home country or state could be grounds for expulsion on campus. Furthermore, while Black and white individuals use marijuana at the same rates, Black people are four times more likely to be incarcerated on marijuana-related charges. 

For Rowan University, the federal legalization of marijuana is not just important to the student body, it is critical to the protection of the student body and their academic futures.

The Whit believes that Rowan University needs to be at the forefront of legislative lobbying to legalize medical and recreational marijuana at a federal level. Other universities such as the University of Colorado, the University of Maryland, Baltimore and the University of Mississippi are all actively lobbying for legalization at the federal level in order to pursue scientific and agricultural-based research. 

All of these universities are classified as R1 Doctoral Universities with extremely high research levels — and it’s no secret that Rowan has been vying for this classification for quite some time. But if Rowan wants to achieve this status, it needs to hold itself to the same standards as other R1 universities.

Lobbying for legislative action will not only help to protect its 20,000 students against discrepancies in marijuana restrictions but also open up avenues for increased research funding within Rowan’s cannabis programs and widen the breadth of research that these programs can pursue. 

If Rowan wants to continue to be a leader in cannabis education across the United States — and protect its sprawling student body — The Whit believes that Rowan needs to lead the charge of legislative change for marijuana usage at the federal level.

For comments/questions about this story, email the.whit.rowan@gmail.com or tweet @TheWhitOnline


  1. Cannabis consumers deserve and demand equal rights and protections under our laws that are currently afforded to the drinkers of far more dangerous and deadly, yet perfectly legal, widely accepted, endlessly advertised and even glorified as an All-American pastime, alcohol.

    Plain and simple!

    Legalize Nationwide Federally Now!

    The “War on Cannabis” has been a complete and utter failure. It is the largest component of the broader yet equally unsuccessful “War on Drugs” that has cost our country over a trillion dollars.

    Instead of The United States wasting Billions upon Billions more of our yearly tax dollars fighting a never ending “War on Cannabis”, lets generate Billions of dollars, and improve the deficit instead. Especially now, due to Covid-19. It’s a no brainer.

    The Prohibition of Cannabis has also ruined the lives of many of our loved ones. In numbers greater than any other nation, our loved ones are being sent to jail and are being given permanent criminal records. Especially, if they happen to be of the “wrong” skin color or they happen to be from the “wrong” neighborhood. Which ruin their chances of employment for the rest of their lives, and for what reason?

    Cannabis is much safer to consume than alcohol. Yet do we lock people up for choosing to drink?

    Let’s end this hypocrisy now!

    The government should never attempt to legislate morality by creating victim-less cannabis “crimes” because it simply does not work and costs the taxpayers a fortune.

    Cannabis Legalization Nationwide is an inevitable reality that’s approaching much sooner than prohibitionists think and there is nothing they can do to stop it!

    Legalize Nationwide! Support Each and Every Cannabis Legalization Initiative!

    It’s time for us, the majority of The People to take back control of our national cannabis policy. By voting OUT of office any and all politicians who very publicly and vocally admit to having an anti-cannabis, prohibitionist agenda! Time to vote’em all OUT of office. Period. Plain and simple.

    Politicians who continue to demonize Cannabis, Corrupt Law Enforcement Officials who prefer to ruin peoples lives over Cannabis possession rather than solve real crimes who fund their departments toys and salaries with monies acquired through cannabis home raids, seizures and forfeitures, and so-called “Addiction Specialists” who make their income off of the judicial misfortunes of our citizens who choose cannabis, – Your actions go against The Will of The People and Your Days In Office Are Numbered! Find new careers before you don’t have one.

    The People have spoken! Get on-board with Cannabis Legalization Nationwide, or be left behind and find new careers. Your choice.