At Student Government (SG) Senate’s last meeting on Oct. 25, they discussed a statement that was brought to attention, written by Senate Secretary Ryan Todd, issuing support for student use of medical cannabis off-campus. 

At this time, the use of cannabis is prohibited on-campus. FGCU is, however, a leader in the state being one of the first schools to implement a Cannabis Professional Certificate Program. The 5-day workshop is designed for students who wish to extend their understanding of the cannabis industry and educates participants on the history, laws, and facts about the plant itself. 

The statement says, “Whereas, supporting students who choose to engage in the medical use of cannabis off campus in a safe and efficient manner.” The statement was handed out to the public at the Senate meeting, but not included in the weekly minutes.  

Secretary Todd believes there is no representation for students who engage in the use of medical cannabis legally from the school. This official statement would not change any legislation, but just show students that the SG Senate supports them and recognizes their needs. 

“This is still a taboo subject,” he said.

Secretary Todd sees this time as an opportunity to take initiative and come before other schools, as the country has hit a turning point in its recognition of the cannabis industry. 

On Oct. 6, 2022, the White House issued a statement on behalf of President Joe Biden, pardoning “all prior federal offenses of simple possession of marijuana.” 

Secretary Todd believes it’s unnatural not to support students taking part in this industry after taking into consideration how far the school has come already. He believes FGCU will lose the lead they have in this area once bigger schools start to pick up their own programs. 

This legislation was hit with many differing views from other Senators and Chairs at the meeting. Most of the problems brought up were those pertaining to the wording and structure of the statement. 

After taking into consideration the legal aspects of posting this statement, many were in favor of the idea. 

It came to attention that there is a separation between the title and the body of the statement. The working title of the bill, “Expressing Support to Students who are interested in the cannabis industry,” raised concerns whereas many senators claimed the statement should not mention the cannabis industry, but rather express support for students who partake for medical purposes. 

However, the working statement says, “The medical cannabis industry is beneficial to the general welfare of the residents of the state and its economy.” 

Secretary Todd, along with many other SG Senators, believes there is a disconnect between what FGCU says versus what they do to support students with medical marijuana cards. This official statement would show that SG Senate is taking initiative on their own to show this support. 

“We want to stand in solidarity with students who have medical cards. We should be breaking barriers in this stereotype,” Secretary Todd said. 

The SG Senate will take a vote on this statement of support at the next meeting, held on Nov. 1.