A recent article debates whether an increase in applications to Colorado colleges is a direct result of the passage of Amendment 64, which made recreational marijuana legal in Colorado. College applications have risen by thirty percent since the new law. Schools say that this may be coincidental because of more aggressive high school recruitment measures and new, easy-to-use application formats that were also implemented this year. While many of you are weighing your undergraduate and law school options, putting a Colorado school higher on your list for the sole purpose to smoke a joint might be a half-baked idea. Here are a few things to consider…
1. College Campus Restrictions: The Controlled Substances Act, the Drug-Free Workplace Act, and the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act are being cited by Colorado schools to enforce federal statutes that still prohibit the use of marijuana. Additionally, students typically sign agreements upon acceptance to college that require them to adhere to a code of conduct, which could expel them for using banned substances. Amendment 64 also prohibits the use of marijuana for those under 21.
2. Money: One of the purposes of legalizing marijuana for recreational use was to increase tax revenue for the state; and this has succeeded. These extremely high taxes cause the product to be very expensive. You might also need to spend money on supplies to use the marijuana. And, your grocery budget is also likely to increase with one of the side effects of marijuana use – the munchies. Further, federal drug-related conviction could prevent you from qualifying for federal student loans.
3. Future Employment: Because there is a conflict between state and federal law, there are still many unanswered questions about the consistency of enforcement. For law students specifically, questions concerning drug use and criminal activity are posed during the character and fitness portion of admission to the bar. Will the legal use of marijuana disqualify you from sitting for the bar exam? If you search for a job outside of Colorado, you will have to consider drug screenings for THC levels. Even if your use was sometime before your interview or employment, but can still be detected in your system, your legal use in Colorado may not afford you an excuse to employers in another state where marijuana use is still illegal. In the job market we have today, is taking a hit worth the hit to your employment opportunities?