Medical pot on campus: Colleges say no and face lawsuits

In this Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019 photo, college student, Sheida Assar, poses for a photo in Chandler, Ariz. Assar said she was expelled from GateWay Community College in Phoenix last month for violating the school’s drug policy after she tested positive for marijuana, which she uses to treat chronic pain from polycystic ovary syndrome. Colleges are becoming a battleground in the conflict between federal and state marijuana laws. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
In this Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019 photo, college student, Sheida Assar, poses for a photo in Chandler, Ariz. Assar said she was expelled from GateWay Community College in Phoenix last month for violating the school’s drug policy after she tested positive for marijuana, which she uses to treat chronic pain from polycystic ovary syndrome. Colleges are becoming a battleground in the conflict between federal and state marijuana laws. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
In this Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019 photo, college student, Sheida Assar, poses for a photo in Chandler, Ariz. Assar said she was expelled from GateWay Community College in Phoenix last month for violating the school’s drug policy after she tested positive for marijuana, which she uses to treat chronic pain from polycystic ovary syndrome. Assar and other students say they received approval to use medical marijuana from college employees who serve students with health-related needs - only to face discipline from higher-ranking school officials (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
In this Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019 photo, college student, Sheida Assar, poses for a photo, in Chandler, Ariz. Colleges are becoming a battleground in the conflict between federal and state marijuana laws. Assar said she was expelled from GateWay Community College in Phoenix last month for violating the school’s drug policy after she tested positive for marijuana, which she uses to treat chronic pain from polycystic ovary syndrome. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
In this Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019 photo, college student, Sheida Assar, poses for a photo in Chandler, Ariz. Assar said she was expelled from GateWay Community College in Phoenix last month for violating the school’s drug policy after she tested positive for marijuana, which she uses to treat chronic pain from polycystic ovary syndrome. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

HARTFORD, Conn. — Colleges are becoming a battleground in the conflict between federal and state marijuana laws.

Students who failed drug tests and were expelled or disciplined for using medical marijuana are taking their schools to court in states where medical pot is legal.

College leaders cite the federal government's classification of cannabis as an illegal drug and say they're worried their schools would lose federal funding if they do not continue to ban marijuana.

The lawsuits, including ones in Connecticut and Florida and another planned in Arizona, may lead to legal precedents on medical marijuana use on college campuses.

In the meantime, marijuana advocates say, schools could continue to prohibit pot but make the penalties lighter so students would not be expelled or suspended for their medical marijuana use.

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