Darin Hinman opted out of a CSU camping trip due to University restrictions on medical marijuana use. Hinman uses prescription marijuana to ease pain from an injury he sustained fighting in Iraq.
Colorado State University does not allow medical marijuana on campus or at campus-related activities.
Hinman, a senior studying journalism and technical communications at CSU, received his medical license to replace his opiate use.
“I was injured in Iraq,” Hinman said. “I got some shrapnel in my back — metal from an explosion. So the VA had me on 240 (mg) tramadol and like 100 (mg) methadone a month — a lot of opiates, just for pain management. It got so bad I was having seizures and blackouts because they had me on such a high dose. My VA doc actually convinced me to get the medical marijuana card.”
Hinman said he tried to work with leaders of the group on the drug policy, suggesting edible alternatives, but was ultimately denied.
“Unfortunately it’s CSU’s policy that they don’t allow medical marijuana at any of their campus activities that are CSU-related in general. Even if it’s off campus, it doesn’t matter,” Hinman said. “So basically I can’t go on the trip then, because you know I can’t go skiing for five days without using something for pain.”
Colorado law allows medical and recreational marijuana use, however under the federalControlled Substance Act, these activities are still illegal.
Executive Director of Public Affairs and Communications Mike Hooker said that since the possession and use of marijuana is still prohibited under federal law, the University must abide by it.
“Because marijuana possession and the use of marijuana is prohibited under federal law, we are actually required to not allow it here on campus,” Hooker said. “We don’t allow marijuana, whether it’s for medical or recreational use, because that’s federal law, and that’s the way we have to approach it.“
According to the CSU Student Conduct Code, students who use or possess marijuana are subject to discipline.
Although CSU is following federal law, Hinman claims they have violated the Americans with Disabilities Act.
“You basically denied me an activity because of the medication I’m taking, which is blatantly against the Americans with Disabilities Act,” Hinman said. “The crazy thing is I can basically go on this trip with prescription opiates, which is what I would have done if I hadn’t transitioned. I would have been taking all kinds of opiates, which are, I think, worse than the marijuana, because there’s side effects. I was having seizures.”
Students living in the dorms are also prohibited from using medical marijuana.
Danielle Wesolowski, a junior studying agricultural business at CSU, dealt with this issue her freshman year.
“It was terrible, I even had the cops called on me one night, but the cop let me go because it was for emergency medical use,” Wesolowski said. “It was really messed up, because if I wanted to use my medication, I would have to go off campus.”
Students who are caught with marijuana on campus are required to attend a disciplinary hearing and can ultimately be put in Back on TRAC (Treatment, Responsibility and Accountability on Campus), in the case of multiple offenses. In this program, students are required to take daily breathalyzer tests and weekly drug tests.
“I think that it’s wrong to say that people can’t use their medication,” Wesolowski said. “For some people, it’s more than just getting stoned. It’s going through pain on a day to day basis. That’s why we pay to use this.”
This article was published in The Collegian March 30, 2015.