Students have to pass the drug test before the start of every semester and are responsible for covering the entirety of its cost
Prospective students in West Virginia will have to pass a drug screening test for a variety of substances, cannabis included, to be considered for a newly-implemented program that grants free tuition to public community colleges in the state.
Not only do students have to pass the screening before the start of every semester, but they will also be responsible for covering the entirety of its cost.
“West Virginia is currently facing a devastating drug epidemic,” reads the bill, “and the hope that comes with increased access to career education and higher quality employment opportunities is an indispensable tool against the spread of drug addiction.”
However, those opportunities don’t seem to extend to the students most at risk of suffering from addiction.
The bill dictates that students must “have, prior to the start of each semester, satisfactorily passed a drug test administered by the eligible institution: Provided, that the applicant shall be responsible for the actual cost of the drug test.”
There do not appear to be any provisions in the law allowing students to refute their test results or request a second test.
Kathy Butler, a consultant helping launch the program, presented a testing policy last week stating that in addition to THC, the intoxicating compound in cannabis, the screening will include oxycodone, hydrocodone, cocaine, amphetamines, and more.
While the bill itself does not specify what schools should do in the case of applicants who are a part of West Virginia’s state medical cannabis program or those who take physician-prescribed painkillers like hydrocodone to treat medical conditions, Butler said exemptions would be made for students who could present a medical note to test providers.
Butler said the program was negotiating a contract to provide applicants with testing for US$34 per screening. The policy was not subject to a public comment period or board vote.
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