Student Information: Cannabis

FAQ’s Regarding Cannabis Use

Regardless of the growing popularity that cannabis is “safe” or “harmless”, cannabis use has several undesirable health, safety, social, academic and behavioral consequences, including:

  • High risk of memory loss, trouble thinking and difficulty staying focused
  • Increased risk of developing anxiety, depression and other mental health problems
  • Effects on alertness, perception, coordination and reaction time (skills required for safe driving)
What Is Cannabis?
  • Cannabis is the dried flowers, leaves and stems of the Cannabis sativa plant. THC (delta 9 tetrahydrocannabinol) is the active ingredient in cannabis – it is what makes you feel differently than how you feel when you are sober. Cannabis can be smoked (inhaled) or eaten in food.
  • It is important to note that the active ingredient – THC – can remain in the lungs and other tissue for up to three weeks after use. This would be an extremely important piece of knowledge to know prior to taking a drug test for school or employment.

I have a medicinal cannabis prescription from another state. Can I use it at NDSCS?

At the federal level, cannabis remains classified as a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act, where Schedule I substances are considered to have a high potential for dependency and no accepted medical use, making distribution of marijuana a federal offense. If you have a medicinal cannabis prescription from another state, that prescription is only valid in the state it was issued.

Is cannabis use harmless?

No! Cannabis can cause major health, safety and learning problems. There is no medical research that shows cannabis use has any health benefits. In fact, it has shown to lower your IQ score by about eight points on average. (source: National Institute of Drug Abuse)

Doesn't everyone use cannabis?

According to Canan, et al., cannabis (marijuana) use in young adults is generally lower compared to national rates. Young adults and college students often overestimate how frequently their peers are using cannabis (marijuana) which can influence personal decisions surrounding cannabis (marijuana) use.
*Canan, E., Dorssom, M., Harnisch, B., & Anatchkova, B. (2020). Survey of North Dakota Young Adults, 2020 (Rep.). Laramie, WY: WYSAC URL: Survey of North Dakota Young Adults, 2020 (

Is it safer to drive under the influence of cannabis or under the influence of alcohol?

No. Cannabis affects alertness, focus, perception, coordination and reaction time – essential skills required for safe driving.

What happens if I am caught with cannabis at NDSCS or in my personal vehicle?

Possession of cannabis or drug paraphernalia for marijuana are considered misdemeanors, and delivery of marijuana or intent to deliver within 1,000 feet of a school (which includes a university) are class B felonies. Penalties for these crimes range from a $1,000 fine and 30-days imprisonment for a class B misdemeanor to a $10,000 fine and up to 10 years imprisonment for a class B felony.

Students found to be in violation of the NDSCS Alcohol and Other Drug policy may be subject to one or more sanctions below, depending on the severity of the offense and any existing or prior violations:

  1. Consultation only;
  2. Referral to special classes or counseling sessions;
  3. Restitution and/or fines;
  4. Verbal and/or written warning that continuation of prohibited conduct may be the cause of more severe disciplinary action;
  5. Probation/suspension/cannot serve in elected positions in campus clubs and/or organizations;
  6. Eviction from college-owned housing;
  7. Indefinite suspension;
  8. Expulsion.
What does “delivery of a controlled substance” actually mean?

It is illegal to cultivate or sell marijuana in North Dakota. Penalties vary according to the amount cultivated or sold, with increased penalties for sales made within 1,000 feet of a school. It is also illegal to hire or solicit a minor to sell drugs. (N.D. Code Ann. § 19-03.1-23(1).)

  • Up to 100 pounds. Penalties include a fine of up to $10,000, up to 10 years in prison, or both.
  • 100 pounds or more. Penalties include a fine of up to $10,000, up to 20 years in prison, or both.
  • Soliciting or employing a minor. Penalties include a fine of up to $10,000, up to 10 years in prison, or both.

For example, if you live in the NDSCS residence halls and you sell cannabis to your roommate for a large or small amount of money, that is considered Delivery of a Controlled Substance within 1,000 feet of a school, punishable by a fine up to $10,000 and up to 10 years in prison, or both.

What are the health consequences of cannabis use?
  • Research indicates that cannabis has three to five times more tar, carbon monoxide and cancer-causing chemicals than tobacco. One study has shown that smoking JUST ONE joint has the same effects on an individual’s lungs as smoking 5-16 tobacco cigarettes! (source:
  • Short-term effects of cannabis use include dry mouth and eyes, anxiety, increased heart rate, difficulty concentrating, memory loss and impairment of driving skills.
  • Long-term effects of cannabis use include difficulty sleeping, inability to stay focused and attentive, and decreased motivation. Cannabis can also affect a person's mental illness: it is associated with depression, schizophrenia and psychosis.