The Effects of Marijuana Legalization and Decriminalization on Campus Safety at Institutions of Higher Education

Publication Date: 2016
Abstract: The number of institutions of higher education (IHEs) that operate in states where marijuana use is now legal or decriminalized is expanding, and those changes are creating new challenges for campus safety officials at IHEs across the United States. In particular, IHEs in many states, regardless of marijuana's legal status there, are finding it necessary to change how they detect and manage drug use on campus, as well as how they conduct day-to-day campus safety operations in a world of legal or decriminalized marijuana. Many campus safety teams are experiencing challenges with these changes. To identify specific challenges IHEs face with regard to marijuana legalization and decriminalization, and consistent with its role as a nationwide resource for addressing critical issues in campus safety, the National Center for Campus Public Safety (NCCPS) facilitated an emerging issues forum on June 10, 2016. The forum included campus safety leaders from eleven IHEs in seven states. Forum participants were tasked with identifying public safety challenges associated with changes in marijuana laws and recommending promising practices for addressing those challenges. Forum participants developed an array of recommendations for addressing the identified challenges.