AMS, University not consulted on location of new provincial pot store

AMS says it ‘would have liked’ consultation on the issue

AMS offices located in the JDUC.
Credit: 
Journal File Photo

The AMS and the University weren’t consulted on the location of the new Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS), set to open this fall.

The location in the RioCan Centre, a 15-minute drive from campus, was selected based off provincial guidelines, municipal zoning bylaws, and proximity to primary and secondary schools—as well as where illegal storefronts currently operate.

In a statement sent to The Journal, AMS communications said the society “would have liked to been consulted on the OCS location; however, that is a provincial matter.” The statement added there had only been “a brief phone call” with last year’s team regarding the OCS location.

When asked about student accessibility, given the store’s distance, AMS communications said, “we’re also fortunate that through our Bus-It program and partnership with Kingston Transit, our students have access to transportation to OCS at no additional cost.”

Despite the free access to public transit, students who wish to shop at the new OCS face an hour-long round trip.

Queen’s also says consultation on the OCS location didn’t occur. Chairman of the Cannabis Working Group, Dan Langham, told The Journal in a statement, “the university would always welcome the opportunity to provide feedback on issues that could affect the university community.”

“In this case, we were satisfied with the outcome of the process the government used to locate the retail outlet,” Langham wrote.

Langham said that since its first meeting in January, the Cannabis Working group has been tracking the progress of federal and provincial acts in relation to cannabis to determine how it will impact University policy and programming. 

“Members of the Working Group are now in the process of updating programming, policy and procedure, as necessary, to address the potential impact of the legalization of cannabis,” Langham wrote.

One of those policies is the recently approved revised student code of conduct, which now mentions cannabis-specific infractions. Specifically, students will be prohibited from consuming cannabis on campus, except where the law otherwise permits.

Additionally, students won’t be able to cultivate cannabis on campus, or any University-owned building. Contravention of these rules could result in students being processed through Non-Academic Misconduct (NAM).

“The Working Group has also been liaising with the Council of Ontario Universities’ Cannabis Working Group, which has been discussing the legalization of cannabis at a sector level,” he added.

So far, the AMS says they have not had communications with the Cannabis Working Group, but that they “look forward” to being included in the future as campus prepares for legalization. 

When asked when students can expect concrete University guidelines or rules regulating cannabis on campus, Langham wrote, “I expect that information outlining the legal requirements and the expectations related to recreational and medicinal cannabis use will begin rolling out later this summer.”

 

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