UC guidance on use and possession of marijuana on UC property

The University of California prohibits the use, possession, and sale of marijuana in any form on all university property, including university-owned and leased buildings, housing, and parking lots, except in the narrow circumstances provided below. Marijuana is also not permitted at university events or while conducting university business. The Federal definition of marijuana can be found in the Controlled Substances Act, at 21 U.S.C. Section 802.

On Nov. 8, 2016, California voters passed Proposition 64 legalizing under state law the adult use of non-medical marijuana among people over the age of 21. (The use, cultivation and distribution of medicinal marijuana had previously been legalized under state law in 1996, via passage by the California voters of Proposition 215).  Despite Proposition 64 and Proposition 215, in light of Federal law, discussed below, UC policy remains that marijuana is prohibited on all university property and at all university events, except for approved academic research, or except as required by the Compassionate Access to Medical Cannabis Act (which currently applies to terminally ill patients using their own medical cannabis in certain health care facilities, pursuant to CA Health & Safety Code Section 1649 et. seq.).

Academic research involving marijuana may be conducted at the university to the extent authorized under both federal and state law; such research must be conducted in compliance with all applicable regulations and policies, including but not limited to federal registration and licensing requirements administered by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency and applicable to research use of controlled substances.

Notwithstanding state law, most use, distribution, and possession of marijuana remains illegal under federal law. The federal Controlled Substances Act criminalizes possession and distribution of Schedule I controlled substances, including marijuana, with a limited exception for certain federally approved research. The Drug Free Schools and Communities Act and the Drug Free Workplace Act require that UC, as a recipient of federal funding, establish policies that prohibit illicit marijuana use, possession, and distribution on campus and in the workplace.