Marijuana fully legalized for Ohio but not at UF

The legislation does not change the current marijuana policies on campus 

By Lauren Wolters,

Ohioans voted to pass Issue 2 on Nov. 7, 2023, but what does that mean for the residents of Ohio and specifically for UF students? 

In passing Issue 2, Ohio became the 24th state to fully legalize marijuana use. Issue 2 enables the commercialization, regulation, legalization and taxation of adult use of cannabis in Ohio. According to the Washington Post, 57 percent of Ohio voted to pass Issue 2. Despite most Ohio voting to legalize marijuana, marijuana policies have not changed at the University of Findlay. 

Johnathan Ferraro, Associate Vice President for Student Life, explained why UF’s current policies have remained the same. 

“This is largely due to the fact that marijuana possession, use, and cultivation have not been decriminalized at the federal level,” Ferraro said. “Until that changes, I do not anticipate any adjustment to campus policy. Therefore, possession, use, and cultivation/growing of marijuana are all still prohibited under university policy.” 

UF’s full policy regarding alcohol and drugs on campus can be found on the Drug Prevention Program Policy website. According to Ferraro, the page is regularly updated to reflect any changes. He encourages students to review the policies and be familiar with them. Following the passage of Issue 2, UF sent a campus wide update to all students, faculty and staff to inform them how the legislation would impact campus policies. 

We work to educate students on campus about the policies, and then address possible violations through the Student Conduct process,” Ferraro said. 

William Spraw, Chief of Police and Director of Security at UF, said in an email interview that there has not been an increase in the number of complaints regarding marijuana on campus, nor have there been any recent reports regarding it. Ferraro confirmed Spraw in noting that there has not been a noticeable increase in reported marijuana violations. 

“We see a number of marijuana related violations each academic year, so yes, there have been some cases that have been adjudicated,” Ferraro said. “I do not think that there has been a notable uptick in the number of cases since the passage of Issue 2.” 

Chief Spraw explained how Campus Security handles these violations whenever they do occur. 

“Usually if we see violations of smoking etc., the person is advised of the campus policy,” Spraw said. “If it is a student, and they have vaping materials, it is handled through Student Conduct.” 

Ferraro works with students who violate UF’s drug prevention policy through the Student Conduct Process. This process holds students accountable for the violation and helps to educate them about UF’s policies regarding drugs and alcohol. 

“Anytime a student is found responsible for a violation of campus policy, there are several factors that are considered when determining what a sanction package might look like,” Ferraro said. “Those factors include the scope and severity of the incident and the student’s history of student conduct. Generally speaking, a minor level first time marijuana related violation would typically result in a sanction package that includes Disciplinary Probation, On-Campus Service Hours, a Monetary Fine, and an Educational Program.” 

Ferraro emphasized that UF policies regarding marijuana use will not change if it remains prohibited at the federal level. 

“It’s hard to predict what the future might look like, but until things change at the federal level our staff will continue to operate the same,” Ferraro said. “We will do our best to continue to educate students that marijuana is still prohibited on campus and hold accountable those who are found responsible for a violation of the policy.”