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Marijuana Moves to Florida Ballot: What Does That Mean for Rollins?

As most people know, Colorado and Washington both legalized marijuana for recreational use effective on January 1, 2012. Since then, the marijuana industry has grown at a shocking rate. Legal marijuana stores are now selling marijuana to individuals who are 21 or older. As a result, these states have become popular tourist destinations and some people have even moved entirely to have easier access to marijuana.

The examples of Colorado and Washington have affected the general opinion in the rest of the country. President Obama has made the strongest pro-marijuana statement of any president, saying that alcohol is more dangerous compared to marijuana. Popular opinion of the drug’s recreational use is also shifting, with many Americans now thinking it should be legalized, or at the very least for medicinal purposes. Many states are now rethinking their laws and several have introduced new bills for less strict marijuana regulations.

In Florida, the legalization of medical marijuana could soon become a reality. A recent poll reported that over half of the public wants to legalize medical marijuana. A large portion of these people are college-age. This support led to a new bill to legalize medical marijuana receiving enough signatures from enough districts to add it to the November ballot.

On Jan. 27, the Florida Supreme Court ruled 4-3 that the language of the ballot was not confusing or misleading, placing the legalization of marijuana for “debilitating medical conditions” on the November ballot as a potential amendment to the state constitution.

How might changing marijuana laws in Florida potentially affect Rollins? It is easy enough to look at what is happening at colleges in Colorado and Washington, where the marijuana rules are the most lenient in the country, as a precedent. Marijuana is still not allowed on college campuses in either state. Because marijuana is illegal according to federal laws, schools receiving federal funding are forced to comply with the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act.

Though it is now legal for students over 21 to use marijuana off campus, smoking it is not allowed on campus or in dorms. Many of the colleges also have rules against marijuana in general and professors and students smoking marijuana, even off campus, might face repercussions. Since cities can decide whether or not to allow marijuana stores, many college towns are not currently allowing marijuana shops to open.

Since Florida has not even legalized marijuana for medical use yet, it will probably be a long time before marijuana is legalized for recreational use, if ever. Although, even if Florida does eventually follow Colorado and Washington’s examples to legalize marijuana for recreational use, it is highly unlikely that it will be allowed on college campuses; Rollins will most likely respond with new campus drug rules.

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