With the dark and cold winter days here, sports are a welcome distraction, especially for those who prefer regional team teams. College football season concludes with bowl games this month, and basketball season is definitely heating up.
For many of us, sipping a cold beer or zipping off the tube can enhance our enjoyment of watching sports, which is fine if you’re of legal age and watch in the privacy of your own home.
But if you plan to support one of our local sports teams in person, district colleges and university officials prefer to leave cannabis at home.
Current laws regarding cannabis consumption are much stricter than alcohol. For example, it is illegal to consume marijuana in public or in front of the public. And while you might think a more discreet mode of consumption, like food or a vape pen, could slip under the radar, getting caught using cannabis at a college sporting event could get you out of the game at least, but also in even bigger legal trouble.
why? Federal ban.
This stems from the fact that all of the area’s colleges receive federal funding, and because marijuana remains illegal at the federal level, higher education institutions are required to have a zero tolerance for cannabis.
“Being a fully funded institution, no controlled substance is allowed, even if state law allows it,” Ben Lasky, assistant director of sports communications at Washington State University, wrote in an email.
While WSU is one of the nation’s leading universities in cannabis research, and even set up a center for cannabis policy, research, and outreach this year, the plant isn’t much welcome at the games.
Laskey says that if you are caught smoking anything on campus, including tobacco, the fine is $205. If possession or use of cannabis, even medical marijuana, is caught at a WSU sporting event, the penalty is expulsion from the venue and trespassing for 24 hours, whether student or visitor. Visitors may also be cited for public use, campus tenure, or local police, while students will be disciplined for violating student code of conduct.
Gonzaga University has a similar policy, and cites compliance with the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act that prohibits the possession or use of any drug considered illegal under local, state, or federal law.
This law is part of George Bush’s larger 2002 “No Student Left Behind” law that supports programs to prevent the illegal use of alcohol, marijuana, tobacco, and illegal drugs. Students caught possessing, using, or distributing marijuana to others, on or off the Gonzaga campus, are subject to fines, potential academic probation, and suspension. This also applies to sporting events and venues.
The school’s Basketball Game Day webpage states that campus security or the Spokane Police Department have the power to remove any intoxicated person from the McCarthy Athletic Center.
Eastern Washington University is also subject to the Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act. To continue receiving federal funding, the EWU must ban the possession, use, and distribution of cannabis and other drugs. Those who choose to use on-campus are subject to arrest, confiscation and referral to the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities, if they are students at the school.
Whitworth University prohibits cannabis use and possession on school grounds, but he attributes this to more ethical and health reasons than government oversight.
The school’s website states, “This policy reflects our conviction that possession or consumption within the Whitworth community is inappropriate for ethical, educational, and developmental reasons…The health risks associated with the use and abuse of these substances are numerous, including exaggerated mood swings from mania to major depression.” memory loss, decreased cognitive ability, physical decline and, in some cases, serious injury or death.”
Students caught with cannabis at Whitworth are referred to the Student Behavior process for follow-up while visitors to pot caught sporting events are asked to dispose of and possibly leave the event.
In Idaho, cannabis is not legalized for recreational or medicinal use, either at the state or federal level. This means that students have no excuse if they are caught, unlike in Washington where it is legal to use in private if the user is 21 or older. Cannabis is simply prohibited on the University of Idaho campus and selling, using, or possessing it is a violation of the Student Code of Conduct.
So, if you’re thinking of doing local hoops while relaxing with a joint before getting the tip, this is a good way to get kicked out of the game and off campus. Most schools also check in-game carry-ons and sometimes pockets, so you’re also likely to lose your inventory, as well as the chance to support your home school or your favorite local team.