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Illinois Student Senator Is Fighting for Medical Marijuana on Campus

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Tara Chattoraj, student Senator at the University of Illinois, introduced a resolution to the Student Government last week which shows support for allowing student medical marijuana patients to use their medicine on campus. Chattoraj is urging the school to revise its student code along with the University Housing regulations.

The revisions would allow student possession and use of medical marijuana on campus, according to The Daily Illinios. Public universities in medical marijuana legal states remain hesitant regarding on-campus use. Their concerns stem mostly around the potential loss of federal funding.

Students that have valid medical marijuana prescriptions in the state face several issues.

Chattoraj said, “Basically, (the only way to take their medication is) either working it out with (residence directors) and (resident advisers) or doing it illegally. They don’t have a lot of options, unfortunately. Mostly they have to hide it and lie about it.”

One student, Jake Block, admitted to breaking the rules so he could use his medicine.

Block said, “I need it to function. I wasn’t about to let a rule prevent me from getting the medical care that I needed.”

Block said that preventing medical marijuana use on campus prevents students from taking their medicine.

Ann Nelson of Phoenix Botanical dispensary said, “With the right strain and dosage, cannabis has been shown to be very effective in treating serious conditions like seizures. I would find it difficult to believe the University wouldn’t want a student to be able to take their medication.”

Block also mentioned that the policy harms the perception of medical marijuana’s legitimacy.

Block said, “(The prohibition) perpetuates the stigma of medical marijuana, that it’s just a substitute for recreational marijuana. It delegitimizes the relief and benefits that medical marijuana can give.”

Assistant Chancellor of Public Affairs, Robin Kaler, says no one should expect a policy change anytime soon.

Kaler said, “The University still has to follow federal laws. If we violate federal law, it puts our federal funding at risk.”

Alma Sealine, Director of University Housing, agrees with Kaler to a point.

Sealine said, “I don’t think there’s a quick resolution here, knowing that there are federal guidelines that we would have to make sure we weren’t hindering. I applaud (Chattoraj) for raising these questions, but I would say (a policy change) is not going to happen this year and would need a significant investigation with a variety of offices on campus.”

The resolution has been referred to committee – it’s awaiting a discussion.