Can Arizona universities and colleges ban medical marijuana on their campuses? Can the state legislature ban it for them? These are the questions that the Arizona Supreme Court is set to decide.
According to the Associated Press, the Arizona Supreme Court has agreed to review the ruling of a lower court that bars the state legislature from criminalizing medical marijuana possession on college and university campuses, but allows such campuses to ban possession on their properties individually.
The ruling is the result of a 2014 case involving the arrest of Arizona State University student Andre Maestas for on-campus possession of medical marijuana. Although Maestas was a medical marijuana patient and only possessed 0.4 grams of marijuana, far below the legal limit, the state legislature passed a law in 2012 that added college and university campuses to this list of places where patients could not possess medical marijuana.
Maestas’ suit claims that the law violates the Voter Protection Act, which bars lawmakers from repealing or dramatically altering voter-approved laws. Maestas argues that by narrowing the scope of the state’s 2010 medical marijuana law, the legislature is in effect enacting a partial repeal of the Voter Protection Act.
In the lower court ruling, the Arizona Court of Appeals sided with Maestas and struck down the legislature’s law. However, the lower court did indicate that colleges and universities have the right to ban medical marijuana on their campuses individually.