Marijuana legalization does not appear to affect CSU enrollment

Even with the legalization of marijuana in the state of Colorado, CSU admissions said students main concern is still cost when considering where to apply for college.

“If your sole reason for making a quarter of a million dollar decision is so you can smoke pot, you’re probably gonna have some prioritization issues,” said President Tony Frank. “At least your progress to graduation is likely to be slower I would guess.”


Similar to concealed carry laws, Frank has heard arguments for and against applying to CSU due to the legalization.

“I’ve heard people say, ‘It’s gonna kill out-of-state enrollment, because no parent is gonna want their son or daughter to go to a place where everybody’s high all the time,’” Frank joked.

Thus far, CSU admissions has not tracked legalization as an impact on applications or enrollment.

“We’re not polling people about their thoughts on laws about marijuana,” said Mike Hooker, executive director of public relations at CSU. “It’s hard to say if there’s a connection to the application and legalization.”

There has been no change to the application process to render the legalization as a cause for applying to universities in Colorado.

“Over time we may get some sense of that, but even then would be purely anecdotal,” Hooker said.

Locally, students in the Poudre School district are not considering the legalization a factor when applying to schools, according to Ted Brugman, a counselor at Fort Collins High School.

“Whether that’s impacting the decision to stay in Colorado or look for schools in Washington state, I definitely haven’t noticed that impacting the decision,” Brugman said.

When applying to university, the students’ main concern appears to be cost.

“The biggest piece is a financial decision,” Brugman said. “Whether they would want to be closer to home or go out of state, the financial decisions and factors are the biggest.”


CSU wants students to apply who are looking for a good education, according to Hooker.

“Colorado is a great place, CSU is great university,” Hooker said. “That’s why we want people to apply.”

Frank recognizes the legalization as a concern, but hopes students apply for the quality of education.

“There will be some people that will be attracted to that for the wrong reasons and there will be some people that will be pushed away from it and overreact in the other direction,” Frank said. “To me, the real issue is, ‘Is the education good?’”

Collegian Features Beat Reporter Hannah Hemperly can be reached at