Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
Culture > News

Let’s Talk About Weed: What the Recent Legalization of Recreational Marijuana Means for UMD Students

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Maryland chapter.

On Nov. 9, 2022 Maryland residents voted to approve legalizing recreational marijuana. This will take effect in July 2023 and means anyone 21 and over will be able to legally purchase and own up to 1.5 ounces of marijuana. 

The new policy will also make changes to current criminal law. Starting on Jan. 1 anybody incarcerated for cannabis-related convictions can now apply for a resentencing. Additionally, cannabis convicts can now petition for expungement after the satisfactory completion of their sentence. 

Currently 19 states and Washington D.C. have fully legalized marijuana while 37 states have legalized medical marijuana. However, according to the DEA, cannabis is still a federally controlled substance and it is classified as a Schedule One drug. This means it has a high potential for abuse and no known accepted medical use. Other Schedule One drugs include heroin, LSD, and ecstasy. Recently, President Biden made an announcement urging officials to reevaluate cannabis’ drug schedule. 

In recent years support for marijuana legalization has grown exponentially. In Maryland, the constitutional amendment was approved by a two-thirds majority. According to the Pew Research Center, 68% of adults support legalizing marijuana, which is a record high number. Additionally, 8 out 10 college students support legalizing cannabis

“I was pretty glad about it [legalization]. I think it’s a good move. People are going to do it anyway so might as well legalize it and have the substance be more safe and regulated,” said sophomore Hodaya Tapiro, a psychology major.

“Legalization will affect the student body for the better. It will be easier to get marijuana in a safe environment,” said Tapiro. 

Shortly after Maryland legalized recreational marijuana, the Office of Student Conduct from the University of Maryland sent out a campus-wide announcement. In the announcement, Director James Bond reiterated that this university will still prohibit any use of marijuana on campus, even following the recent change in law. This announcement caused controversy among the student body, and some argued that now that it has been legalized it no longer makes sense to prohibit the substance on campus. 

“Now that recreational marijuana is legal in Maryland I think [the student conduct office’s announcement] is counterproductive because kids are still going to be doing it. Having it not be allowed on campus, when the law says it can be, is counterproductive,” said freshman Jared Sherman, an information science major.

In his announcement, Bond wrote, “under federal law, cannabis is considered a controlled substance, therefore cannabis is not permitted on campus under any circumstances. The University of Maryland Code of Student Conduct prohibits the unauthorized use, production, manufacture or possession of any controlled substance or illegal drug on or off campus.”

“If it’s legal in the state there should not be an issue doing it on campus as long as you’re of legal age. I think the school should follow the state’s decision,” said Tapiro.

The University Health Center declined our request for an in-person interview about the effects of cannabis, however, in an email statement they wrote “cannabis use is associated with negative impacts on academic performance and raises the risk of addiction as well as physical and mental health problems. Regular cannabis use can negatively affect the parts of the brain involved in learning and memory.”

While it is true that regular cannabis usage can be harmful to brain development, according to Web MD, cannabis can also relieve chronic pain, nausea, anxiety, insomnia, and a host of other symptoms.

The legalization of marijuana is an important step toward ending the historic War on Drugs. Hopefully it will drive the future into a state where the substance is less stigmatized and there are fewer stereotypes surrounding users.

Irit Skulnik

Maryland '26

Irit Skulnik is a journalism major at the University of Maryland with an interest in writing, media, and public relations. In her free time Irit enjoys thrift shopping and is an avid Bachelor fan.