Legal pot still flunks out on campus

SEATTLE -- In just a few days, pot becomes legal in Washington.

But there are plenty of places where people won't be able to light up.

On Thursday, adults 21-and-over will be able to possess an ounce of marijuana legally in their home. They can use at home, but probably not at work, and most definitely not at universities and other colleges around the state.

Corey Greenwald lit up a cigarette in a designated smoking area on the University of Washington campus. He had the smoking area all to himself, bu tin a few days he expects some company.

“I have a feeling this might be polluted with a lot of pot smoke as well,” Greenwald said.

Even though marijuana will be legal for people over 21, lighting up anything other than tobacco on campus can still get you in trouble. University of Washington spokesperson Norm Arkans said because the federal government still considers marijuana illegal, the university can’t change any of its rules.

“It’s not our choice really,” Arkans said. “We’re obligated as a public institution to comply with federal law if we wish to continue to receive federal funding, and we receive an enormous amount of federal funding.”

The University of Washington and Washington State University are sending out e-mails to students this week alerting them to the fact that pot is still off limits on campus. Getting caught using marijuana on campus could get students suspended or even expelled.

Seattle community colleges sent out a similar notice, saying, “the district policy remains unchanged.”

“Smoking pot will still be a violation of the student conduct code.”

But it’s a code not every student follows.

We caught up with Tyrak Hasan as he lit up a joint outside Seattle Central Community College while taking a break between classes. Hasan said he feels emboldened by the new law and said lighting a joint should be no different than lighting up a cigarette.

“This ain’t going to kill you,” said Hasan. “It enhances my skills, and I can go back in there and knock out my tests, knock out my exams, and get high scores in class.”

Smoking pot in public, even after Thursday, will remain illegal.