University Park, IL,
11:39 AM

Cannabis Law's Influence on Campus

With the legalization of recreational cannabis in Illinois, many are left wondering how the new law will influence their lives.

For Governors State University  students on campus, nothing changes, says Kelly Grab, Director of Community Standards and Student Advocacy.

“Recreational cannabis, while legal in Illinois, is not legal under federal law. Since Governors State University receives federal funds, most notably in the form of financial aid, the institution is required to abide by federal laws and regulations concerning controlled substances,’’ said Grab, whose office is part of the Dean of Students Office.

The office has sent out updates to the campus community regarding the new law and advises those with questions to reference the Drug Free Schools and Communities Act. That is the act that is tied to Title IV funds.

Meanwhile, at the university’s School of Extended Learning (SXL), administrators are responding to the new cannabis law in three ways.

On Feb. 13, SXL will partner with the Center for Student Engagement and Intercultural Programs, formerly known as Student Life, for a forum that will explain the law, and what is and is not acceptable on campus. "Hot Topic: Cannabis on Campus 101" will cover legal rights on campus, as well as career opportunities. The workshop is free, but participants must sign up. The event will be in the Lakeside Lounge. Click here register. 

Michelle Sebasco, Director of Extended Learning Academic Partnerships at Governors State University, said the new law still prohibits cannabis on campus, however it does offer other career opportunities.

Before moving on to discuss the legal revenue streams, Sebasco pauses to reinforce an important point to students.

“Our message is: Just because it’s legal doesn’t mean it’s allowed on campus. Even if you live in Prairie Place, you can’t have marijuana in room,” she said.  

Governors State’s second response to the new law has been to offer vendor training for those who want to work in a marijuana dispensary.  "Responsible Vendor Training" is a four-hour session and the minimum training required for those seeking positions—from owner to bud tender—in dispensaries across the state, Sebasco said. Additional training is usually required for some positions.

“This is just a door opener,’’ she said.

Responsible Vendor Training classes are less than $300. Register here for the next class on Feb. 29.  

Finally, Governors State’s SXL is working with companies in the area to provide training to Human Resource officers.

“Cannabis in the Workplace” trains HR professionals and business owners to talk with employees about their tolerance level for cannabis in the workplace. “We go in and discuss drug testing policies, legal limits, and privacy,” Sebasco said.

The workshop costs $35 and will be offered in March. Click here for more information.

Amy Barsha, Executive Director of SXL,  said the university is being responsible by offering classes for new vendors and business.

“It’s our job as an institution of higher education to articulate to our students and community what’s emerging as a viable industry for potential employment. It’s also an opportunity to develop a plan to develop the social equity component,"  Barsha said.