Rockhurst responds to Marijuana legalization in Missouri


Courtesy of Unsplash, Khoa Tran

Thomas Kennedy, Reporter

In November 2022, Amendment 3 passed in Missouri legalizing recreational marijuana. Voters passed the ballot initiative by a narrow margin, changing legal use from just medical to recreational as well. Now residents above the age of 21 can use marijuana legally and can even apply for permits to grow the plant in their home. However, while Missouri may have changed their stance on the drug in recent years, the same can’t be said for Rockhurst.

Ahead of the spring 2023 semester, the first since the amendment went into effect, Rockhurst put out a statement about the new campus policy regarding marijuana use. The statement said that despite the statewide legalization, marijuana will not be allowed on campus because it is yet to become federally legal.

“Rockhurst University receives federal funding for financial aid, grants and contracts for research and is subject to compliance with the Drug Free Communities and Schools Act and the Drug Free Workplace Act. These federal laws prohibit universities receiving federal funding from allowing any form of marijuana use or possession on their premises,” said Matthew Quick, dean of students and vice president of student development, in a university-wide statement.

Mathew Wunderlich, a junior at Rockhurst, expressed his support for the amendment’s passage.

“I agree with the age restriction, but I think it’s an overall positive because less people will be put in jail for possession of marijuana,” Wunderlich said. While it’s still illegal to use marijuana in public, Missouri is already expunging previous marijuana related arrests. He added he views marijuana in a similar vain to alcohol. He also stated that while he had been a chronic user previously,

Wunderlich also shared his thoughts on Rockhurst’s policy. “It’s not like I didn’t expect this,” he said. Until marijuana becomes federally legal, the loss of funding would be too great for the school to consider allowing on campus.

I interviewed another Rockhurst student who elected to remain anonymous. They argued that all legal substances should be allowed for students of age.

“As an advocate of marijuana use, I think that the benefits outweigh that of alcohol and by disallowing it on campus, Rockhurst is promoting the more harmful substance.” They argued that the university should either implement a ban of all substances or allow all legal substances at the school.

While the drug may not make its way onto the Rockhurst campus, legalization could have a positive effect on the community. According to, a news website that focuses on developments in the legalization of marijuana, there were 9,723 Marijuana-based arrests in Missouri in 2021. Decreasing the number of people incarcerated for possession could have a positive impact on the Missouri justice system.

Marijuana will also get easier and safer to get in the coming year with more and more dispensaries opening. According to KSDK St. Louis, in the first month of legalization, marijuana sales exceeded 100 million dollars, a large influx for the Missouri economy. Lastly, although Rockhurst is remaining opposed to the legalization, some students show appreciation at the passing of the legislation.