BU Today

Campus Life + Health & Wellness

Marijuana: 10 Things You Need to Know

It may be legal in Massachusetts, but you still cannot possess or use on campus


Massachusetts legalized recreational cannabis sales July 1, following a ballot initiative passed by voters two years ago permitting marijuana use by people age 21 and older. But before you toke up, there are some important things you need to know. For starters, it’s still illegal to possess, use, or cultivate marijuana on campus, because federal law still prohibits it. Colleges that receive federal money are thus bound to uphold federal laws or risk losing that funding.

BU Today reached out to the Boston University Police Department for clarification of the policies for those living on and off campus. Here’s what you should know:

  1. Using pot anywhere on campus, including dorm rooms, is prohibited for students and nonstudents.
  2. BU policy also prohibits the possession, distribution, and cultivation of marijuana for recreational or medicinal purposes in any University residence hall or other University premises.
  3. The previous restrictions apply to all University-sponsored events and activities off campus, as well as any student organization event.
  4. Even with legalization, the state bans all marijuana users, of all ages, from public smoking.
  5. Adults 21 and over living off campus are limited to possessing one ounce of dried marijuana or 5 grams of concentrated substance on their person under state law, with another 9 ounces permitted in their home.
  6. Adults may grow up to 6 plants individually, or 12 plants per household, when more than one adult lives in the home.
  7. People over 18 but under 21 who possess or use pot face a fine of $100 and must complete a drug awareness program.
  8. BU administers drug tests to new employees hired at the BUPD, BU’s Public Safety Department, and the National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories (NEIDL). NEIDL employees are also subject to random drug testing. These protocols will continue.
  9. Massachusetts prohibits driving under the influence of marijuana.
  10. Oh, about that federal ban: it also means you can’t travel out of state with marijuana, especially on planes, even if you bought the pot legally here in Massachusetts.
Rich Barlow, Senior Writer, BU Today, Bostonia, Boston University
Rich Barlow

Rich Barlow can be reached at barlowr@bu.edu.

16 Comments on Marijuana: 10 Things You Need to Know

  • Ballz on 09.11.2018 at 6:41 am

    Whatever it’s not cool anymore

  • Gman on 09.11.2018 at 7:10 am

    There isn’t a federal law written that states you can’t possess marijuana on campus. This Is an unsubstantiated claim. FAKE NEWS!!

    • Rich Barlow on 09.11.2018 at 9:29 am

      On the contrary, the ban is so real that President Trump wants to repeal it: http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-trump-marijuana-20180608-story.html#

    • Eba on 09.11.2018 at 9:30 am

      You’re correct–the federal law states that marijuana is banned entirely. Good to point out :-)

    • jk on 09.11.2018 at 9:49 am

      You misunderstand; federal law still designates marijuana as a controlled substance. Since the university receives federal funding, federal laws supercede state laws. Let’s say you’re in Starbucks rolling a joint (why not?) and there are two cops sitting at the back of the room eating donuts. One of them is Boston PD, the other is from the Boston division of the FBI. One of them is obligated to arrest you, the other is unlikely to, but could still could defer to federal law and do the same. The state allowance on pot is only a reflection of what local police and local courts will likely uphold. It cannot legislate upwards and direct the federal government to conform. It is also worth saying that the current attorney general, Sessions, has been itching to test this in case law as he has a very odd personal vendetta against pot. Federal agents would be able to arrest and likely secure a conviction against someone with pot; this would then have to be challenged at higher courts as to whether or not the federal prohibition was an infringement on state’s rights. In the meantime, the person convicted would spend a lot of time at an FCI.

  • Laura W on 09.11.2018 at 7:45 am

    What are the consequences for students caught violating the cannibis regulations in dorms? Will chronic violators be expelled? Or removed from on campus housing?

    • Chuck on 09.13.2018 at 1:41 am

      Chronic violators… lmao

      And I think it’s $100 fine the 1st time and then possibly removed from campus housing for a 2nd offense

  • colin monroe on 09.11.2018 at 10:05 am

    So, when are you gonna move on to the future. You live in a state with one a huge opioid problem, but you want to keep cannabis off your campus? I have done delivery on your campus for 2 years, and the amount of wild alcohol consumption on campus is ridiculous, and yet I see no crack down on that. Wouldn’t you rather your students smoking weed than getting drunk and destroying things on campus? Move on, you should be smarter than this.

    • susan on 09.11.2018 at 11:29 am

      colin. this isn’t a BU policy, really. it is a federal fact. you wanna give up 501c3 status? that can’t happen.
      this is true everywhere in the commonwealth that is in any way funded or partially supported by government money.
      any 501c space, like… the symphony, public parks, many museums.
      know the law. change the law, but know it. good people going to jail for no good reason doesn’t help.
      i think the first MEDICAL user, with a serious need for cannabis, and a valid card who is prosecuted for possession on one of these ‘federally funded’ campuses/holdings- will bring it to the highest courts.
      it will be decriminalized soon after.
      I firmly believe this will fall under state’s rights in the end.
      and in the end, as a bartender, i would MUCH rather deal with a stoned person than a drunk one…

      for now ( despite my valid medical card ) I will leave it all at home…

    • Aaron on 09.11.2018 at 1:07 pm

      It’s not up to the school, it’s federally administrated. Obviously it’s ridiculous but thanks to Reagan’s War On The Poor administered via racist drug crackdowns we’re stuck with this stupid situation for a while.

  • Krishna on 09.11.2018 at 12:36 pm

    It’s important for international students to remember that they never carry pot or are found with pot. It voids clauses of the visa and could be cause for deportation. As legal as it might sound, immigration/visa falls under the federal jurisdiction and it can be really risky and since you cannot predict the biases/personal beliefs of the officers in question, it’s important to keep these things in mind.

  • Jim on 09.11.2018 at 12:42 pm

    I find it hard to believe that the scholars at BU would have any interest in marijuana. Non-issue I suspect.

    • KK on 09.11.2018 at 4:05 pm

      You’ve obviously never walked through BU’s west campus, because the smell is ever-present

  • BU mom on 09.12.2018 at 9:48 am

    Jim, good point. I don’t understand if you are paying $$$$$ to get an education, why would you take a substance to make you stupider.

    • Patrick on 09.13.2018 at 1:04 pm

      Maybe because there’s no concrete scientific evidence supporting the claim that cannabis negatively impacts intelligence. I smoked all through my undergrad and graduated magna cum laude. Your opinion is informed not by fact, but by propaganda.

  • My rights on 10.16.2018 at 4:01 pm

    I work at BU and frequently have to walk through pot smoke in the garage to get to my car. Today, two young men walking on the sidewalk openly smoking a joint made it impossible for me to get to my office without smelling/breathing it. I choose not to do drugs, and yet, am unable to walk freely in public places on campus without having to breathe pot smoke. Police can’t do anything because there is no way to measure it, and the violations are not worth their time. Alcohol is affecting the person drinking it (don’t get in a tizzy, I’m not talking about drunk driving) – but pot smoke goes everywhere. My tax dollars are now funding subsidized housing where families with little kids live – and the entire complexes reek of pot smoke. Where are the facts about long term exposure for those kids – and how their brain development will be affected? So – I don’t have a problem with recreational smoking if the guidelines were actually followed so I didn’t have to smell it all the time. I do, however, have a problem because of the entitled people who assume everyone wants to smell it, inhale it, or walk through it on a daily basis. I’m also infuriated that smoking pot in apartment complexes means that everyone who lives there has to breath it. I’m with BU mom – pot reeks of stupidity…..because in my personal experience (not through scientific evidence) it seems to make people self centered and ignorant of other people’s rights….

Reply to colin monroe

cancel reply

(never shown)