University won’t allow smoking cannabis on campus, except for medical purposes

Smoke clears on Queen’s cannabis rules ahead of legalization

Cannabis will be legal nationwide on Oct. 17.
Journal file photo

This story was updated on Oct. 19

All recreational smoking and vaping of cannabis on campus will be prohibited after its legalization in Canada on Oct. 17.

Unless approved for medical or research use, individuals won’t be allowed to smoke cannabis in a University-owned or leased building, within three metres of an entrance or exit from a building, and nine metres from the hospital or within twenty metres of a sports field.

Consumption of cannabis will also be prohibited on patios connected to a restaurant on campus, inside a University-owned vehicle or in a location enclosed by more than two walls and a roof. 

The prohibition of smoking cannabis on campus will hold regardless of whether Bill 36 is passed, which would permit consumption of cannabis anywhere vaping or tobacco is permitted, excluding vehicles.

Anyone 19 years or older will be allowed to possess up to 30 grams of dried cannabis on campus, but the cultivation, distribution and sale of cannabis on University property, including facilities and residences, will be prohibited.

The policy states those smoking cannabis in “areas surrounding the university are required to avoid littering” and are “expected to be considerate of neighbouring residents, businesses, and institutions.”

While it’s campus security’s responsibility to “refer instances where a student is believed to have violated this policy to the Non-Academic Misconduct Intake Office,” the protocol responding to a breach of policy is still hazy.

The policy states, “Individuals who do not comply with [the] policy may be subject to penalties or discipline, up to and including the termination of employment and/or other relationship with the university.”

Disciplinary sanctions won’t apply to those seeking emergency medical services.

The University’s approach to managing the use of cannabis on campus is based on the Cannabis Act 2017, which prohibits consumption of cannabis in public spaces.

The University has aligned their policy with the Smoke Free Ontario Act to avoid impairment in the workplace and complications with a potential transition to a smoke-free campus.

The policy states that “to permit Smoking Cannabis on University Property would run counter to the direction of the university to move towards a smoke free environment” and it has begun this process “through the work of the university’s Clean Air Steering Committee.”

Only those who receive accommodations will be permitted to smoke cannabis on campus, and these will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

If an individual receives accommodations, the policy requires the user to smoke only in places on University property where tobacco smoking is permitted.

The policy expects accommodated users to provide “satisfactory evidence” of the need for a medical accommodation before they will be allowed to consume cannabis on campus.

The University will review their smoking of cannabis policy in 2019.

CORE Community housing

Renters’ leases will determine marijuana policy inUniversity-owned off-campus rental properties.

In an email statement to The Journal, Dan Langham, chairman of the University’s Cannabis Working Group, wrote the use of cannabis in Community Housing properties will be “dictated by the terms of the lease that students signed with the university.”

The University wouldn’t say whether current leases specifically prohibit the consumption of cannabis on the properties.

“Regardless of the specific lease terms, tenants are expected to consider the needs of their housemates, particularly if asthma, allergies or other similar medical considerations are involved,” Langham wrote. “We expect our tenants to use common sense and good judgment.”

Communicating rules to students

According to Langham, the University’s communications office has developed a “comprehensive communications plan” to ensure students understand the new campus policies on the consumption of cannabis.

Through a central website dedicated to cannabis information, the University has compiled information from various other websites, including Student

Affairs, Student Wellness, Residence, Human Resources, and Athletics and Recreation.

The University will also distribute information through “various” social media platforms.

Preparation for legalization

As new legislation is crafted, Langham said the University needs to review each change to determine the potential impact on campus, and to the work already done to prepare for legalization.

As an example, Langham pointed to the late proposed changes to the locations where cannabis can be smoked, which he said “delayed the release of cannabis information” as the University determined what additional policies mightbe required.

Langham said he feels the University has “prepared adequately” for the legalization of cannabis, even as provincial and federal legislation evolved.

“Queen’s University may continue to adjust policies pursuant to emerging legislation,” Langham wrote. “Members of the Queen’s community will be notified should further policies be adjusted or instituted.

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