Students Disciplined For Employing Health-related Marijuana Are Suing Colleges

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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Colleges are becoming a battleground in the conflict involving federal and state marijuana laws as students who use healthcare pot challenge decades-old campus drug policies.

In states
exactly where healthcare marijuana is legal, students disciplined for making use of it are
taking their schools to court. College officials argue they could shed
federal funding for failing to comply with federal law that labels cannabis
an illegal drug with no accepted healthcare use.

Sheida Assar stated
she was expelled from GateWay Neighborhood College in Phoenix final month
for violating the school’s drug policy following she tested good for
marijuana, which she utilizes to treat chronic discomfort from polycystic ovary
syndrome.

She was studying diagnostic healthcare sonography, Assar
stated, and an instructor had told her she wouldn’t have any issues if
she presented her Arizona healthcare marijuana card. She ordinarily utilizes
marijuana to support her sleep and had never ever been below the influence in
class, she stated.

“They yanked me out of class in the middle of the
college day,” stated Assar, 31, of Chandler, Arizona. “They escorted me to
the administration like I was a … criminal. It is discrimination, and
it also violates my rights below the Arizona healthcare marijuana law.”

The
legal challenges are coming from students studying nursing and other
healthcare specialties who, below college policies, ought to undergo drug
testing.

Assar and other students say they received approval to
use healthcare marijuana from college personnel who serve students with
overall health-connected demands — only to face discipline from greater-ranking
college officials.

Assar stated she intends to sue GateWay to recoup
the $two,000 she spent on tuition and other educational costs and seek
additional funds in damages. Her lawyer currently has been in make contact with with the
college, she stated.

A GateWay spokeswoman, Christine Lambrakis, stated
that she could not confirm Assar’s status at the college and that the
college continues to prohibit marijuana use.

Asked about an
Arizona Supreme Court ruling final year that overturned a 2012 state law
that produced possession or use of marijuana on college campuses a crime,
Lambrakis stated the college is in the procedure of reviewing its policies
and will not modify them in the meantime.

Thirty-3 states and
Washington, D.C., permit healthcare marijuana, and 11 states and Washington,
D.C., have legalized recreational marijuana, making clashes with
federal law that have been playing out in courts, mainly in employment
situations that have had mixed final results for healthcare pot.

There do not
seem to be efforts by recreational marijuana customers to challenge
college drug policies, observers say. That is probably since states limit
recreational use to persons 21 and older, excluding most college
students, and since there haven’t been prosperous legal challenges to
campus alcohol policies even even though state laws permit persons 21 and more than
to drink, they say.

States with healthcare marijuana laws permit use
by persons 18 years or older with a doctor’s recommendation, as effectively as
by minors if their parents approve.

Connecticut nursing student
Kathryn Magner sued Sacred Heart University final month following she tested
good for marijuana and was barred from attending necessary clinical
healthcare rounds, according to her lawsuit. She had begun making use of marijuana
legally in her property state of Massachusetts more than the summer time to treat
situations that had been not disclosed in legal documents.

Connecticut
law enables healthcare marijuana and forbids public and private colleges
from discriminating against students who use it. A judge cited the
state’s law in ordering that Magner, 22, from Marlborough,
Massachusetts, be permitted to return to the healthcare rounds. The lawsuit
was settled below undisclosed terms.

Just before the settlement, she
stopped making use of marijuana, passed a drug screening and obtained approval
to use healthcare pot from the Fairfield school’s Workplace of Student
Accessibility to attempt to salvage her nursing profession, her lawsuit stated.
But nursing college officials wouldn’t budge, her lawsuit stated.

“Many
schools disability solutions offices are not universally listened to by
the university,” stated Michael Thad Allen, an lawyer for Magner. “It
just shows that these types of troubles will turn into additional frequent if
employers and schools do not abide by the law.”

Sacred Heart
calls for students to “obey the law at all instances,” but it treats healthcare
marijuana like other disability-connected requests and “seeks to give
affordable accommodation below the law,” college officials stated in a
statement.

In Florida, Kaitlin McKeon, of Naples, is suing Nova
Southeastern University for expelling her from its nursing plan in
Fort Myers final year following she tested good for marijuana. She has a
state healthcare marijuana card to take the drug for various situations.

McKeon
also stated college officials told her there would be no issue with her
use of healthcare marijuana below the provisions of state law.

But
following she failed the drug test in January 2018, greater-ranking officials
moved to expel her, saying she violated the school’s drug policy, her
lawsuit says.

“It’s definitely sad that Nova Southeastern … took
this stance on this challenge and is definitely stopping a definitely superior, caring
particular person from getting into the nursing field and living out her dream since
she chose a medication that is legal in Florida but not 1 that they
recognize,” stated her lawyer, Michael Minardi.

Nova Southeastern officials stated they can not comment on pending litigation.

The lawsuits have the possible to set legal precedents on the use of healthcare marijuana at colleges.

In
the meantime, advocates say, universities can lighten penalties so
students do not face expulsion or suspension for legally making use of healthcare
marijuana.

“Universities can proficiently decriminalize it, de-punish it and make it not one thing they concentrate on,” stated Jared Moffat, campaigns coordinator for the Marijuana Policy Project, an advocacy group for pro-marijuana laws.

By Dave Collins



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