Navigating Change News

Administration bans medical marijuana despite social patterns, doctors’ approval

By Garrison Murphy ’15 & Austin Norville ’15
THE ROUNDUP

The school administration barred the use of medical marijuana for students this summer amidst a national push to conventionalize the drug’s use.

Dean Mr. Pat Higgins said although marijuana is now legally available medicinally, Brophy will continue to prohibit its use, even if a student has a doctor’s prescription.

Mr. Higgins said there is a “pro-marijuana trend” occurring in the region and it is Brophy’s responsibility as a Jesuit institution to defy like trends.

“We don’t allow the use of marijuana at any time,” Mr. Higgins said.

He cited Brophy’s guiding principle of safeguarding the school from the use of alcohol and illicit drugs.

By forbidding students from using medical marijuana, Brophy joins a growing group of Arizona private education institutes like Notre Dame Preparatory and Arizona Christian University.

Arizona public schools do not currently prohibit student use of medical marijuana.

Under Arizona law it is legal for a minor under 18 to be prescribed medical marijuana with the submission of an application with parental consent.

As of 2013’s end, there are 44,675 active medical marijuana cardholders in Arizona, according to the Arizona Department of Health. Fifty-eight are minors, accounting for an overall 0.1 percent of all Arizona cardholders.

With Arizona being one of 23 states that currently sanction the use of medical marijuana, some believe the administration’s decision to ban its use was the wrong move.

“I know a lot of people who need medical marijuana and I can see that if they didn’t have it their lives would be so much worse,” said a Brophy student who said his family owns a private Medical Marijuana dispensary. The Roundup agreed to keep the student’s name confidential for family privacy reasons. “As a prime example I was good friends with a veteran that served in Iraq and Afghanistan, he came back with the most severe PTSD you could imagine … all he could do was drink and that’s all his life was until he discovered medical marijuana.”

The student said he believes medical marijuana has many positive and healing effects.

“I feel like it’s a legitimate medicine source and it’s no different from any other medicine that isn’t banned,” the student said. “It’s an example of an abused medicine, but it’s no different than anyone abusing Vicodin in my opinion.”

He said the administration should work with students who need medical marijuana and let that student know the rules about its use instead of facing potential disciplinary measures from the school.

He also said a student should not use medical marijuana on campus.

When asked about how marijuana differs from other prescription drugs that students can use such as Adderall, Mr. Higgins referred back to the school drug use policy.

Other students said they believe Brophy’s decision to prohibit medical marijuana use is valid, although potentially intrusive.

“It may be a questionable policy to become involved in the affairs of students, but at the same time I understand where the Brophy administration is coming from in that marijuana is something in general to avoid having on campus and in the lives of students,” said James Hunt ’15.

Senior Paul Binsfeld ’15 agrees with the school’s ban on medical marijuana in that “the few bad kids spoil it for people who need it.”