Massachusetts became the sixth state to legalize recreational marijuana when the residents of the Commonwealth voted yes on Question 4 on November. Since then, Gov. Charlie Baker’s administration has been struggling with the regulations and specifics regarding the passage of the law. Universities have also pondered their own guidelines on how marijuana should be treated on campus.
Boston University Police Department released a statement shortly after Nov. 8 that marijuana usage and possession would be illegal on campus no matter your age. The university took a strict stance against the drug though it will be legal for those 21 or older, which applies to some of the upperclassmen and graduate students.
Following the news that marijuana will be legalized, many have jumped into the soon-to-be booming market. Weedmaps, an app created to connect people with medical and recreational marijuana dispensaries, delivery services and discounts on products, is coming to several universities within Massachusetts, according to an article from the Boston Business Journal. The app hopes to have several brand ambassadors at Boston University, Boston College, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and several other major colleges in the area. The student ambassadors will be tasked with involving the collegiate market with the application.
The company said that they will try to keep ambassadors over the age of 21 except if a candidate is exceptionally qualified, which is respectable. If a student can do the job, they should be able to work. After all, they would promote an app that works with marijuana; they’re not selling it or going to dispensaries.
These brand ambassadors could only be a problem because of BU’s own restrictions on the drug’s use on campus. Marijuana use will continue to be illegal on campus because the school must correspond to federal law to protect funding. It’s fair to say that the university will not be happy with students who are promoting a substance that is banned on our campus.
Campus ambassador programs are meant to provide brands with an “in” to the students of that respective university. They’re able to infiltrate the market with people who already exist within that market. Private companies are allowed to creep into BU’s network, which the school should hopefully want to contain. However, the school doesn’t have enough control over students to say what they can and can’t endorse on campus. The same can be said for those interested in representing Weedmaps.
This ambassador program, however, perhaps will help end the stigma against marijuana while many consider the substance to be worse than cigarettes or alcohol. This could be a positive program if it makes people motivated to become informed on the effects of the substance. This application is all about breaking the social stigma of what weed is. Imagine a day when a college student will put “Weedmaps College Ambassador” on the resume to show their marketing skills. Why does it have to be different from being a college ambassador for any other companies?
It is a student’s decision whether or not to get involved with Weedmaps, though advocating for an app that promotes recreational marijuana could be detrimental to future professional endeavors. Massachusetts may have voted yes, but not every private employer is going to be in favor of the legislation. It is a risk on the student’s part, but ultimately there should be a separation between BU and a student’s non-BU affiliated job.