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UMD is a Cannabis-Free Campus

Maryland State law now permits the personal possession and use of cannabis under certain circumstances for those over the age of 21. However, as required by federal law, University policy on cannabis will not change. 

You cannot use or possess any form of cannabis, including recreational or medical cannabis, anywhere on University of Maryland premises or at University-sponsored activities. This means no vaporizers, no edibles, and no smoking. 

Those who violate these campus policies face disciplinary action that could impact their standing at the University.

Weeding Out Misinformation

You may have many questions about University policy and state law, and cannabis use generally. We’ve developed FAQs to help you understand the implications of cannabis use, and to direct you to support if you or someone you know is struggling with substance use.

Why doesn’t the change in State of Maryland law affect University policy on campus or at University-sponsored activities?

The federal Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act requires the University of Maryland to establish and maintain policies that address unlawful possession, use, or distribution of alcohol, illicit drugs and controlled substances. Under federal law, cannabis is still considered a controlled substance; therefore, cannabis is not permitted on campus or at University-sponsored activities under any circumstances.

What is considered “University premises?” 

“University premises” includes all residence halls, South Campus Commons, The Courtyards, Fraternity Row, the “Graham Cracker” and any other buildings or grounds owned, leased, operated, controlled, or managed by the University.

Why does the University of Maryland follow federal law when it conflicts with state law? 

The University receives federal funding to support a wide range of programs including federal work-study and student financial aid. Failure to abide by federal law and regulations would jeopardize these federally-funded programs.  

What happens if I’m found using or in possession of cannabis on campus or at University-sponsored activities?

In general, reports of suspected possession or use of cannabis on campus or at University-sponsored activities by students are reported to University Police and will be documented and referred to the Office of Student Conduct (or the Resident Life Rights & Responsibilities Office for students who live on campus when reports relate to suspected use in the residence halls) for conduct follow up per the Code of Student Conduct and/or Residence Hall Rules. 

Do these rules apply to me if I have a medical recommendation for medical cannabis, often referred to as “medical marijuana?”

A medical recommendation for medical cannabis does not exempt you from University policy or the Residence Hall Rules (if you live on campus). All forms of cannabis use and possession are prohibited on campus or at University-sponsored activities. You should consult with your personal health care provider regarding alternatives and other considerations for when you’re on campus.

Will I get in trouble if I seek help while illegally under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs?

UMD wants to foster a community of care, and encourages you to get help in the case of an alcohol- and/or drug-related emergency. The University’s Policy on Promoting Responsible Action in Medical Emergencies provides relief from University administrative or disciplinary action if either a University official or other authority is contacted in a timely fashion. 

Where can I find additional information about the changes to State of Maryland laws related to Adult-Use Cannabis Legalization? 

Additional information is available through the State’s Maryland Cannabis Administration.

Let’s dispel some common misconceptions about cannabis use:

“Cannabis isn’t addictive like other substances are.”

All substances carry the risk of addiction, including cannabis, and even periodic use of cannabis is not without risks. It’s important to recognize the signs of addiction and get help if needed. 

“Cannabis helps me with my mental health.”

As more research emerges about the impacts of cannabis use on mental health, we see more and more that there can be significant negative mental health outcomes associated with cannabis use, including:

  • increased levels of depression, anxiety, and even suicidality among regular users.
  • increased risk of experiencing temporary psychosis, a term used to describe hallucinations, paranoia, and not being able to determine what is real. It is especially dangerous for those with a personal or family history of psychosis, so anyone with a personal or family history of psychosis should avoid cannabis use entirely.
  • negative impact on brain development, particularly the prefrontal cortex, which is the frontal lobe of your brain that develops around ages 12-25. This is the part of your brain which controls memory, cognition, and decision-making.

“My parents used cannabis when they were my age and it wasn’t a big deal!”

Students today are faced with more potent forms of cannabis than previous generations of young adults and must be mindful of the greater harms associated with the current cannabis landscape:

  • High-potency cannabis, defined as any cannabis over 10% THC potency, is now the predominant form of cannabis seen in both medical and recreational markets. The potency of THC (the psychoactive chemical in cannabis plants) was around 1-2% in the 1970s.
  • Use of high-potency cannabis is significantly linked to negative physical and mental health outcomes, and is a source of great concern for public health officials, mental health experts, and healthcare workers nationwide.

Learn even more from the University Health Center’s educational and support resources related to cannabis, alcohol and other drugs.

What can I do if I have concerns for myself or for a friend related to substance use?

Our campus has resources to support you if you have concerns about substance use. If you are concerned about your substance use and seek care from a campus mental health or other campus medical provider, your information will be kept confidential in accordance with federal and state law. 

  • Terps for Recovery is a student group for all students who self-identify as being in recovery to connect, socialize, and support one another through the challenges of being a student in recovery on a college campus.  They host general body meetings on a regular basis, as well as special events throughout the year.

If an individual needs medical assistance, appropriate responses include:

  • Dialing 911
  • Calling UMPD at 301.405.3333
  • Text UMPD through the UMD Guardian app
  • Seeking help from a University or Department of Resident Life official (e.g. Resident Assistant, Resident Director, etc.) 

If you seek help while illegally under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, the UMD Policy on Promoting Responsible Action in Medical Emergencies provides relief from University administrative or disciplinary action if either a University official or other authority is contacted in a timely fashion.

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