Board of Higher Education looking at formal opposition to recreational marijuana

Sep 21, 2018

Opponents of the measure to legalize recreational marijuana have asked the state Board of Higher Education to formally weigh in against the measure.

University system director of student affairs Katie Fitzsimmons told the Board’s Governance Committee the Attorney General’s office and other organizations opposed to measure 3 made the request. She told the committee it could be a great opportunity to approach the issue from a student health and wellness perspective.

"Marijuana can decrease someone's IQ by 6-10 points over the course of a lifetime," Fitzsimmons told the committee. "It decreases your memory capabilities, attention span and the ability to focus. It decreases motivation and sleep quality, while increasing apathy, paranoia and depression."

One committee member – Board member Dan Traynor – questioned whether this would be a proper role for the Board.

"I think it's a terrible measure," Traynor said. "But I don't want to get into the situation where were asked to take a position on a range of measures."

Fitzsimmons said because marijuana is still listed as a “schedule one” narcotic, and the campuses do receive federal funds, the campuses would be in danger of losing federal dollars if recreational marijuana becomes legal.

"It really could mean the well-being and the financial security of the institutions could be threatened if this were to pass," Fitzsimmons said.

The committee decided to have Chancellor Mark Hagerott draft a position statement for the full Board to consider at its meeting in Valley City next week.