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Want Free College Tuition in West Virginia? You'll Have to Give Up Weed First
news  |  Jun 14, 2019

Want Free College Tuition in West Virginia? You'll Have to Give Up Weed First

To receive free community college in West Virginia, students must pass a drug test, which now includes testing for marijuana.

To receive free community college in West Virginia, students must pass a drug test, which now includes testing for marijuana.

On Thursday, West Virginia's Community and Technical College System’s board approved a policy that includes drug testing for all students in the state’s new free community college program. And that includes cannabis.

Previously, the West Virginia legislature passed SB 1, a law that required drug testing for applicants under the free tuition program. But the law didn’t specify which drugs had to be tested for, only that tests needed to be conducted.

The college policy introduced to the board included THC — marijuana’s intoxicating component — along with opioids, amphetamines, and other drugs. The board did not discuss the policy, much less debate it, prior to approving it.

“It takes a while to change a policy,” Kathy Butler, a consultant who has advised the board on how to implement the free tuition program, told the Charleston Gazette-Mail. “This makes it more pliable and workable for us. It’s probably going to be revised within a year.”

The new policy exempts medical marijuana patients, though students must present documented proof that they have a doctor’s recommendation for cannabis. In 2018, the state launched a restrictive medical cannabis program, which bans smoking cannabis. Edible, topical, and vaporizable forms of cannabis are permitted under the medical law.

Studies show that chronic cannabis use can negatively affect a student’s GPA, but so can alcohol, which wasn’t included in West Virginia’s free tuition drug test policy.

Follow Randy Robinson on Twitter

randyrobinson

Based in Denver, Randy studied cannabinoid science while getting a degree in molecular biology at the University of Colorado. When not writing about cannabis, science, politics, or LGBT issues, they can be found exploring nature somewhere in the Rocky Mountains. Catch Randy on Twitter and Instagram @randieseljay

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