Ignoring a possible lawsuit, the state House voted Thursday to ban marijuana on college and university campuses, even for those who have a state-issued card entitling them to use it for medical reasons.
A 2010 voter-approved initiative allows those who have a doctor’s recommendation to possess and use up to 2 1/2 ounces of marijuana every two weeks.
That initiative bans use in public areas and public schools. But it leaves the door open for possession and use on the campuses of colleges and universities.
Rep. Amanda Reeve, R-Phoenix, said that runs afoul of rules that all campuses have against illegal drugs, rules she said are necessary to make the schools eligible for federal grants and their students for federal aid and loans. Her legislation would alter the initiative to comply.
Thursday’s voice vote on HB 2349 came over the objections of Rep. Ed Ableser, D-Tempe. He said lawmakers should not alter anything that voters have approved.
The Arizona Constitution precludes legislators from tinkering with voter-approved initiatives. But it does allow changes that “further the purpose’ of the measure, and only with a three-fourths vote of both the House and Senate.
It remains to be seen whether lawmakers can marshal that three-fourths margin when it comes back for a final roll-call vote.
Even if it does, proponents of the law say the move remains illegal. Joe Yuhas, spokesman for the Arizona Medical Marijuana Association said that, in denying college students and visitors the opportunity to use medical marijuana, it does not further the purpose of the initiative.