Drugs

The 6 Least Marijuana-Friendly Colleges in America

Not every school is a party school.

Campus life
Photo Credit: Wikpedia

As shocking as it may seem, not every college student is looking to head off to a campus enveloped in a haze of marijuana smoke. Below, thanks to the Princeton Review, we list the six least marijuana-friendly college campuses, sheltered sanctuaries from cannabis contamination for students (or parents) who seek them.

The listings are from the Review's annual compendium of rankings and ratings of institutions of higher learning across the land, The Best 382 Colleges 2018 Edition. Buried deep inside are student survey results that helped the Review determine which colleges and universities are the most (and least) marijuana-friendly.

In addition to a myriad of questions about academics, diversity and community, the survey asked 137,000 students the question, "How widely is marijuana used at your school?"

Before getting to the list, a couple of caveats. First, the survey data is impressionistic—they asked respondents how many other students they thought were tokers instead of asking for self-reporting, which would theoretically be more reliable. Second, the Review provides no hard numbers, just rankings, so it's impossible to know if BYU is way straighter than Calvin College or just a bit so.

That said, some clear trends emerge. These schools tend to be religious schools (five out of six were founded by one denomination or another), as well as smaller schools—only two of the six qualified as major universities.

(For the flip side of the coin, see our stories last month on the top 7 stoniest small colleges and the top 7 stoniest major universities.)

This list excludes the military service academies—Army, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard—where of course you can't smoke weed. Had they been included, they would have taken four out of the top five spots.

Without further ado, here, in order of rank, are the schools identified as most unfriendly to marijuana.

1. Brigham Young University (Provo, UT). This is no shocker. BYU is owned and operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, also known as Mormons. It's a socially conservative college in a socially conservative state where the Church formally rejects even the medicinal use of marijuana. Heck, you can't even buy coffee on campus, let alone smoke weed. But who knows? The times could be a-changin': Just last month, the school broke down and allowed the sale of caffeinated sodas. Students are probably partying like it's 1899.

2. College of the Ozarks (Point Lookout, Missouri). No surprise here, either. The small Christian liberal arts school not far from the country music hotspot of Branson is noted for its faith-based student groups and its ban on tobacco and alcohol use, so yeah, pot is not very well accepted. That said, it's worth noting that the school requires 90% of students to show financial need to be accepted and educates them through a combination of work-study, scholarships, and grants, helping low-income students get an education while avoiding the indebtedness that plagues so many of their peers. Plus, there's always the Mud Fest tug-of-war and the Sadie Hawkins dance to look forward to.

3. St. Thomas Aquinas College  (Santa Paula, CA). Even in weed-friendly California, enclaves of that old-time religion endure. This small (enrollment: 350) Roman Catholic liberal arts college was founded amidst social and spiritual turmoil in 1971 with a mission to "strive for fidelity with the Magisterium," or old-line Catholic teachings. Those don't include using marijuana. In fact, being caught with alcohol or any sort of illegal drug can lead to expulsion. Fortunately, students who may be about to stray can always seek guidance from the four chaplain-priests who live on campus.

4. Wheaton College (Wheaton, IL). This small evangelical Protestant liberal arts college graduated Billy Graham and is now home to the Billy Graham Center. It comes highly rated overall among small liberal arts colleges, but retains its deeply conservative religious leanings. It's got no room for a professor who converted to Catholicism, it's got no room for a professor who wore a hijab in solidarity with Muslims and it's certainly got no room for godless weed heads.

5. City University of New York, Baruch College (New York City). This is somewhat mystifying. New York is fairly liberal, and several colleges made the lists of most pot-friendly schools, but not Baruch. With some 18,000 undergrad and graduate students, it's the only major university besides BYU to make this list. One clue: It's the home of the Killing Capitalism blog, which in addition to posts such as "Veganism Is an Eating Disorder" and "Sexual Activism Is Misogyny," this spring posted "Marijuana Is the Most Harmful Drug."

6. Calvin College (Grand Rapids, MI). Named after doughty old John Calvin, the 16th-century Protestant reformer, the school was founded a century and a half ago as an educational institution of the Christian Reformed Church. Its 4,000 students enjoy an extensive concert series with contemporary acts including Death Cab for Cutie and Sufjan Stevens, among others, but not the New Pornographers. The Canadian band's appearance was canceled when its very name ruffled feathers. John Calvin wouldn't approve, and he apparently wouldn't approve of pot-smoking students, either. 

 

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Phillip Smith has been a drug policy journalist for the past two decades. Smith is currently a senior writing fellow at the Independent Media Institute