Alcohol & Drug Policies and Laws

At UC Santa Cruz

University policy prohibits alcoholic beverages from being sold, furnished, possessed by or given to any person under the age of 21. In addition, no possession or transportation of open containers or consumption of alcoholic beverages is allowed in public areas by any person, regardless of age or college affiliation. Kegs or other “common source” containers holding alcoholic beverages are not allowed on campus and may result in termination of your housing contract. Private events hosted by students or registered student organizations may serve alcohol, but a permit from the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs is required before the event, and no guests under 21 may be served alcohol.

The university must adhere to all federal and state laws as they pertain to illegal substances. Delivering, furnishing, transferring, manufacturing, using and possessing illicit drugs or drug paraphernalia is strictly prohibited at the university. Additionally, the university does not recognize the privileges associated with a medical marijuana (215) card. Drug paraphernalia is defined as all equipment, material and products intended for use or designed for use in growing, processing, harvesting, storing, concealing, injecting, ingesting, inhaling or otherwise introducing a controlled substance into the human body. Violation of these laws and policies will result in judicial action at the college level and may result in police and local, state and/or federal intervention.

In accordance with university policy for a smoke-free environment, all university housing facilities and residences are smoke-free. Smoking is prohibited in all university housing facilities, including student rooms and apartments, community rooms, restrooms, lounges, common areas, cafes and dining halls. Additionally, smoking is prohibited in all indoor public spaces at UC Santa Cruz—both academic and residential. The no-smoking policy also includes exterior stairways, decks, patios and balconies. Smoking outside is permitted only in designated areas, at least 25 feet away from all buildings and air intakes, and not in any wooded or bush areas. Note: UCSC will be a completely smoke-free campus by 2014.

In Santa Cruz

It is illegal to possess an open container of alcohol in public or to drink alcohol in public places (including the beach and parks). It is illegal for anyone under 21 to get someone to buy them alcohol.

In California

Selling or giving alcohol to anyone under age 21 or to someone obviously intoxicated is illegal in California. It is also illegal for anyone under 21 to possess or drink alcohol in public. Having an open container of alcohol in a moving vehicle or drinking an alcoholic beverage while riding in or driving a motor vehicle is illegal, as is driving under the influence of alcohol.

Growing or harvesting marijuana for sale, possession of marijuana for sale and the sale of marijuana are felonies, which can result in serving time in a state prison. Possession of one ounce or more of marijuana for person use is considered a misdemeanor, which can result in fines and jail time. Possession of less than one ounce of marijuana for personal use constitutes a misdemeanor, the conviction of which could carry a fine.

At the Federal Level

All sale, distribution and manufacture of illicit drugs is considered a felony offense. Possession of all illicit drugs except marijuana is considered a felony. If you are convicted of a felony, your eligibility for Title IV student financial aid is subject to suspension or termination.

More Information

For more information on university policy and local, state and federal laws concerning alcohol and drugs, see the Student Rights & Responsibilities Handbook