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Lynchburg-area colleges won't allow pot on campus, even after it's legal in Va.
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Lynchburg-area colleges won't allow pot on campus, even after it's legal in Va.

Although possessing small amounts of marijuana will be legal in Virginia on July 1, many colleges and universities in the Lynchburg area don’t intend to change their policies that currently prohibit it on their campuses.

Officials at University of Lynchburg, Randolph College, Sweet Briar College and Virginia University of Lynchburg said this week that marijuana is not allowed on campus and no changes to policies have been made following the drug’s legalization.

According to Michael Jones, vice president for communications and marketing at UL, the university will remain a drug-free institution.

“Given that marijuana remains illegal at the federal level, we will still prohibit it on campus. Having said that, University leadership is currently taking a serious look at our student conduct policies as they [are] related to marijuana infractions,” Jones said in an email Monday.

Jones said he expects the university to release more information before July 1.

Brenda Edson, director of college relations for Randolph College, said the college has not yet made a decision to change its current policies regarding marijuana.

“It is not allowed. We do make updates to our student handbook and other policies over the summer, and any necessary wording changes will be addressed. However, we do not anticipate changing our policies at this time,” Edson said in an email.

The illegal drugs section in Sweet Briar’s 2020-21 student handbook reads: “The unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensation, possession, or use of narcotics, hallucinogens, depressants, stimulants, marijuana, other controlled substances, possession of drug paraphernalia, and underage alcohol consumption on College premises, at College activities, or while representing the College is absolutely prohibited.”

“We will maintain a drug-free campus and are not planning to make any changes to our student conduct policy,” Dana Poleski, director of media relations and content strategy for Sweet Briar College, said in an email.

Terri Cornwell, director of institutional effectiveness for Virginia University of Lynchburg, said marijuana will not be allowed on the university’s campus.

Officials at Liberty University and Central Virginia Community College did not respond to requests for comment regarding marijuana on their campuses.

While local colleges and universities have not yet made changes to their policies regarding marijuana on campus, some institutions in the state are updating policies to clarify that the drug is not allowed on their campuses.

Virginia Tech recently updated its student code of conduct to make it clear that students can’t possess or use marijuana on campus — an approach that is similar to what other colleges have done in states that have legalized marijuana even while it remains illegal under federal law.

The Roanoke Times contributed to this report.

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Education reporter

Cross covers K-12 and higher education for The News & Advance. An Asheboro, North Carolina native, Cross joined The News & Advance team in January 2020 after graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a degree in journalism.

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