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What Are The Policies For Students At Private Universities & Colleges in California Regarding Marijuana Recommended By A Doctor?

Los Angeles, CA |

I have a doctor's recommendation for marijuana . I am also a student at a private university in California , which " as a recipient of federal funds , is subject to the Drug - Free Schools and Campuses Act ( 20 U . S . C . § 1011i and 34 CFR Part 86 ) and the Drug - Free Workplace Act ( 41 U . S . C . § 702 ) , is required " to certify to the Department of Education that it has adopted and implemented a program to prevent the abuse of alcohol and the illicit use of drugs by students and employees . " I've attended this school for 3 years , am in good academic , have won 3 academic awards , & am in my final semester ; I've had the recommendation before enrolling ; and until now , I've never needed a " disability accommodation . " Would my school probably accept the recommendation , or refuse my request for accommodation ?

The reason I am now requesting a disability accommodation is this: One teacher dislikes that I appear drowsy, & send in email that he will mark me absent for appearing drowsy. After 3 absences, I risk being academically withdrawn from the class. My "disabillity accommodation" is only that this teacher not mark me absent for appearing drowsy. The school's administration has told me that it will grant my disability acommodation, but the teacher is furious at being "overruled" & so wants to see proof. Given the federal government's position on medical marijuana, yet my private school's location in California, how would the administration react to the reason for my drowsy appearance is from marijuana recommended by a doctor? Would the administration treat it as medicine, or as illicit (i.e. illegal) drug use, which is a violation of the Student Code of Conduct?

Attorney Answers 1


These are complex and comprehensive questions and, if you really needed answers to these questions, you would need to retain counsel and pay for that quality and quantity of legal work. But you don't really need these questions addressed. What you need is sound practical fact-specific guidance, so here is exactly that: leave your mj recommendation entirely out of your dealings with the school about your drowsiness. In fact, leave your mj recommendation out of all discussions and interactions with your school administration. Out as in O-U-T. No good can come of trying to manage or control that issue in the context of a college's authority to administer the rules and laws applicable to its student body. None. Leave that dog in the kennel. You can deal with this conflict in some other way.

And, by the way, the "drowsiness because of mj" story is not really persuasive. The world is full of persons with mj recommendations who are not drawing authoritative attention to themselves the next day. What really gives?

My responses to questions on Avvo are never intended as legal advice and must not be relied upon as legal advice. I give legal advice only in the course of an attorney-client relationship. Exchange of information through Avvo's Questions forum does not establish an attorney-client relationship with me. That relationship is established only by individual consultation and execution of a written agreement for legal services.

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Thank you as always for your great advice--you've answered several of my questions before, always with superlative results. As to "what really gives": Only this one teacher, for whom my school's administration acknowledges having received many complaints for abusive behavior (not sexual harassment or discrimination, but rather humiliation & superiority) towards other students, not just me. My drowsiness just happens to be something that he (and only he) has complained off. Other teachers have noticed, but just privately asked me if I'm feeling OK, & accept my simple explanation that I'm prescribed medication that induces drowsiness without requiring further proof. My drowsiness might catch their attention while they're teaching in front of the class, but it doesn't interrupt the class or otherwise cause a fundamental disturbance of the class, & in 3 years it's never really been an issue before this teacher. Because the university's administration allows professors broad latitude in how they conduct their class, the administration's response to all these students' complaints about this professor's behavior is essentially, "sorry, we won't get involved." So I framed my issue as a "disability request," essentially forcing my school to intervene lest it violates the Americans with Disabilities Act. Otherwise, I'm certain that the administration wouldn't help me at all.

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