Missouri may legally tolerate medical marijuana but the University of Missouri, which bans smoking on its campuses, won't allow it, and neither will Columbia College or Columbia Public Schools.
Spokespeople for all three institutions cited federal law, which continues to prohibit marijuana use, possession and cultivation, for their policies. There is no plan to change any policies or make any accommodations for student patients who use medical marijuana, they said.
Amendment 2, passed in November, allows adults to be certified by physicians to use medical marijuana to treat qualifying conditions. It also allows parents to obtain medical marijuana certifications for their children under 18.
"While medical marijuana may be permissible at this level, it is still not legal on school campuses," Columbia Public Schools spokeswoman Michelle Baumstark said. "The federal law and our policies prohibiting drugs on campus have not changed. Marijuana remains a Schedule I controlled substance under federal law. Additionally, there is no clear or consistent federal policy for situations where medical use of marijuana is legal under state or local law."
MU spokesman Christian Basi said the legalization of medical marijuana hasn't resulted in a change in any university policies.
"MU will not allow anyone to smoke, use, grow or distribute medical marijuana on campus," Basi said. "As a smoke-free campus, we prohibit any type of smoking on campus, and we also must continue to adhere to federal law which prohibits the use, distribution or cultivation of marijuana."
Sam Fleury, spokesman for Columbia College, cites the same reasons for restricting medical marijuana on its campus.
"Columbia College policies regarding the use of marijuana will not change as a result of the legalization of medical marijuana in Missouri," Fleury said. "The College’s policies and practices are consistent with federal law that prohibit the use, possession, and distribution of marijuana on campus."
The Columbia City Council in June voted to place a 500-foot buffer between medical marijuana dispensaries and schools, churches and child care centers. The distance was reduced from a proposed buffer of 1,000 feet.
The MU and Columbia College bans apply to use on campus, not to individual students who live off-campus. The public schools and the higher education campuses do not routinely drug test students.
The Missouri State High School Athletics and Activities Association has no list of banned substances, but its board policy prohibits use of tobacco, alcohol or any non-prescription controlled substance by participants at association events, spokesman Jason West said.
The association does not test for drugs, West said. Any type of drug testing of students would be a school district decision.
"That is something that schools have control over," West said of drug testing. "That’s totally up to the local school."