DeKALB — A Smoke and Drug Free map provided by the university outlines all on-campus areas where adult-use and possession of cannabis will continue to be illegal despite changes in state law.

Illinois law, which allows adults age 21 and over to possess and purchase recreational cannabis, went into effect Jan. 1. Despite this, the possession and use of cannabis is prohibited on campus due to a federal law, the Drug Free Schools and Communities Act. The law applies to NIU because the university receives federal funding.

On the map, all campus buildings, residence halls and areas adjacent to NIU property are outlined.

Outside the designated area, the use of cannabis is allowed as long as individuals follow state guidelines enacted by the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act. Some of these areas range from W. Hillcrest Drive to DeKalb’s Industrial area

During a Dec. 5 forum, Deputy Chief Jason John explained the limitations of the law for those deciding to use cannabis off-campus.

“The biggest thing that you need to know is that you can’t just be smoking out on the street,” John said. “You can’t be smoking in parks [or] in public places.”

According to the act, a public place is anywhere someone “could reasonably be expected to be observed by others.” This includes any property owned by state or local government entities such as parks or recreational centers.

Despite these limitations, the act allows for cannabis use in a private residence. John said leased apartments are considered private residences as long as individuals have permission from their landlords to use marijuana.

“If it’s not permitted, it’s a landlord-tenant issue, not a police related issue,” John said during the forum.

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