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Rutgers task force confirms federal law applies to university property, events

Cannabis Decriminalization Impact Report cover

While cannabis has been decriminalized in New Jersey, under federal law it remains illegal and subject to prosecution on Rutgers property and at university events, university officials said following release of a task force report on the law’s impact.

Earlier this year, Gov. Phil Murphy enacted the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement Assistance, and Marketplace Modernization Act, providing the legal framework to decriminalize the possession and recreational use of cannabis (marijuana) for individuals 21 years of age and over in the state. The legislation further standardized penalties for underage possession of cannabis and alcohol. 

To determine the impact the new state law would have on day-to-day operations at Rutgers, President Jonathan Holloway convened a Cannabis Decriminalization Impact Task Force with universitywide representation. Members considered the implications for employees, students, and campus visitors as well as the requirements of federal law.

“The new state law has not changed our federal law requirements to maintain drug-free campuses and workplaces,” said Antonio Calcado, executive vice president and chief operating officer and task force chair, noting the possession, distribution, and use of cannabis – recreational or medicinal – on Rutgers property and in campus facilities remains prohibited.

The prohibition applies to students, employees, and visitors while on Rutgers property and at university events. The findings and recommendations of the task force are outlined in a final report submitted to President Holloway in early June with implementation currently underway in anticipation of the start of the fall 2021 semester on Sept. 1.

“For Rutgers and other public universities, receipt of federal funds in the form of student loans, grants, and research support is explicitly conditioned on our compliance with federal drug laws,” said Prabhas Moghe, executive vice president for academic affairs.

For more information and answers to frequently asked questions, check out this cannabis information page, which includes links to related and updated university policies. Read a message to the Rutgers community.

Holloway said the task force’s efforts make it clear why cannabis use is not permitted on campus.

“I am grateful to the task force members for making and communicating the necessary policy and procedural changes to clarify the law’s impact as we begin to repopulate our on-campus communities,” Holloway said.