OPINION: SGA is wasting its time on medical marijuana bill (UPDATED)

_G0IMRaKBy Arielle Hines

Editor’s note: Below is a correction and response by the author. The original post can be found at the bottom of the post.

My opinion piece published today said the medical marijuana bill taken up by the Student Government Association is a waste of time because there is no way the university could approve it. I tweeted the story on my personal account, and SGA, with impressive speed, responded to my article.

There are screenshots of all the tweets they have sent to me below. I’ll admit I didn’t understand that the policy wouldn’t change until the federal government changes their policy. That is completely my mistake, and I take responsibility for not knowing that. I applaud SGA for calling me out, and in a professional manner.

However, I still don’t think it was best for SGA in the future to vote on bills before they know for certain any federal government will change their policy.

Changes to the federal government can be extremely slow and can take years. Therefore, there is a good chance that this legislation will be forgotten.

Even if federal changes were made, the way the university would adopt them would more likely than not be out of SGA’s control. But I think it would be more appropriate to make the student body’s opinion known to the university if and when the federal government changes its policies.

SGA’s tweets also point out that any student can propose a bill to SGA. That is also a fair point.

I still say the time and effort being put into the bill could be better spent elsewhere.

I’ll admit my article was not perfect and applaud SGA in how they defended themselves. I regret the error and apologize, and I hope SGA will continue with its communications.

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Original post, published on March 16 at 8 a.m.

The Student Government Association will discuss a bill today that would ask the administration to allow students who have a medical marijuana card to use weed on campus.

I’m usually not this blunt, but this is a ridiculous idea that stands no chance of becoming policy.

When Central Michigan Life posted its article about the bill online, commenters raised questions about if this bill would conflict with the university’s non-smoking policy and about potential smell issues.

These would be reasonable questions to ask, of course, if it would ever happen. but it won’t.

Why not?

The main reason is that Central Michigan University would lose all its funding from the federal government if they allowed this measure to become policy.

Even in Colorado and Washington, where cannabis is legal, universities do not allow students to use or possess it on campus. So, even though medical marijuana is legal in Michigan, that doesn’t really matter on the federal level.

I believe all adults should be able to use marijuana for medical or recreational use. However, drug reform will not be determined at an SGA meeting.

Whether you believe it should be legal or not, it is still against federal law. Therefore, CMU has no choice but to abide by the law.

The students who wrote the legislation have their hearts in the right place, but they need to focus their efforts on the national level. College-age students were at the center of the Civil Rights Movement and the anti-Vietnam war movement. We could make be the center of drug reform as well.

If we want the government to consider any major change, we need to take proactive measures.

The representatives at SGA are not dumb, they know this bill won’t change university policy. I suspect they think this will show what the students think on the issue.

While I believe drug reform is an important discussion, it doesn’t belong at SGA. I hope in the future, SGA will focus on measures that could provide a real change to CMU students as opposed to making some ineffective statement.


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