Medical marijuana patients will no longer be allowed to use their medication at state colleges and universities in Nevada, the state Board of Regents decided in September.

Marijuana PlantThe board voted Sept. 4 to ban medical weed at the state’s public universities and colleges. There are five public colleges, two public universities, and one research institute.

Only researchers will now be allowed to possess the drug on campus.

The regents moved to protect grants they receive under Title IV, which are contingent on the schools banning weed. If the state let patients use MMJ on campus, its schools could lose $500 million in federal funding. That would be a massive blow.

Unfortunately, by conforming to federal law, Nevada is making it much harder for patients to get their medicine. Many college students suffer from physical and mental disorders that could benefit from medical pot.

Nevada isn’t the first state to block cannabis possession at its public schools in order to preserve grant money. After Colorado legalized pot in 2012, officials there banned it on campus. Schools in Colorado, like those in Nevada, faced the loss of millions of dollars in federal funding.

Nevada voters legalized medical marijuana in 2000, and the state legislature voted last year to allow MMJ dispensaries. That law put the state in danger of losing its funding.

The Obama administration has said it wouldn’t interfere with states that allow medical or recreational weed, but several government agencies are staffed by hardened drug war zealots. Without explicit protection, public universities and colleges are unlikely to allow medical pot.

College Students in NevadaStudents with medical recommendations can still puff off-campus, but that isn’t easy for many. Freshmen are often required to live on campus, and many private landlords ban marijuana.

Officials with the Nevada System of Higher Education didn’t say how much it would cost for police to enforce the ban.

Regent Michael Wixom said the system also risked public-private partnerships.

“Allowing medical marijuana use could put that money at risk, too,” Wixom said. “No matter where you come down on the medical marijuana issue, this is the problem we face.”

About the Author: Matt Brooks

Matt is a journalist from San Francisco who has specialized in marijuana policy for more than six years.

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