Humber drug policy awaits pot ruling

by | Mar 1, 2015 | News

Veronica Appia
Crime/security Reporter

Humber College has a campus policy on drugs in the works but it is not being released yet because school officials are aware there may be changes in laws prohibiting marijuana, according to Manager of Public Safety Rick Follert.

“Once (marijuana) is legalized, then it becomes an interesting situation,” he said.

Humber would have to enforce rules similar to those for drinking alcohol, Follert added. It would be a matter of classroom behavior.

“We would have to adapt to whatever the situation,” he said.

According to Follert, the vast majority of drug related situations at Humber are conduct issues involving soft drugs, like marijuana.

If a student is caught smoking marijuana on school campus, the student is asked to dispose of it and a violation notice is issued

“When we talk about drug use it also involves student success and engagement because of conduct,” he said. “Now if it was like 20 pounds (of marijuana), that’s probably something where we’d call the police.”

For more serious issues, the Department of Student Success and Engagement launches an investigation and judicial process with the student, but these occurrences are much less common, said Follert.

Corinna Fitzgerald, director of Student Life Programs at Humber, said students who are allegedly involved in serious cases will meet with the Manager of Student Conduct and explain what happened from their perspective, before the situation is investigated with the help of Public Safety.

Once it is decided whether or not the student is in violation, an outcome can be assigned, she said.

Possession of small amounts of pot does not seem to concern students or administrators as there is a possibility of marijuana legalization lurking around the corner with a federal election in which Liberal leader Justin Trudeau has stated his willingness to change its contraband status.

“I would say that sometimes people just need to be reminded about what they can and can’t do,” said Follert.

Paralegal student Hashem Shafi said he agrees with the decriminalization of marijuana because he believes that compared to cigarettes, marijuana is better for people’s health.

“If you can have tobacco, why not have marijuana?” he asks.

While a formal campus-wide policy has not yet been created, several students note anecdotally that casual marijuana use is not uncommon at Humber.

Electrical Engineering student K.C. España said he knows students who use recreational drugs on campus on a weekly basis, but does not know of anyone who has gotten caught.

Law Clerk student Nicki Crowe said she also knows students who regularly use drugs on campus.

“I think they go out back closer to the Arboretum,” she said.