Impending legalization will raise security questions on campus

by | Apr 7, 2017 | Campus News, Canadian News, Headlines, Life

Demetre James
News Reporter

High times that are coming don’t necessarily mean free times at Humber College.

Canada’s federal government is poised to legalize the recreational use of marijuana for those aged 18 and above on July 1, 2018, but it may not mean students will be able to smoke up on campus.

Rob Kilfoyle, director of Public Safety, said when legalization does happen, there might be a perception among students that it’s allowed on campus.

As of now, it won’t be allowed after legalization, he said.

Article 2.4 of the Prohibited Conduct section of Humber’s Code of Student Conduct states use, possession or distribution of non-prescription drugs is prohibited on campus. However, it is unclear what category marijuana will fall under after legalization.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Liberal government are expected to announce legislation — which will give provinces the freedom to determine how marijuana is distributed and sold — during the week of April 10.

Kilfoyle said he flagged the issue of marijuana legalization up the line to his senior executive as something to consider in reviewing existing policy.

“We need to be prepared for legalization because right now Public Safety does spend a number of resources managing marijuana on campus,” he said. “We need to put some clear rules around it.”

“If the Senior Executive’s policy after legalization states marijuana possession is not permitted on campus, my staff would enforce that,” Kilfoyle continued. “If the institution chooses to allow it, then we would likely ignore it unless it’s contributing to some other issue on campus.”

Humber’s spokesperson Andrew Leopold said in an email it’s too early to offer specific plans for the college.

“We will monitor the issue and will review the impact, and/or requirements of the legislation on the college environment,” he said.

Leopold said it’s expected that whatever the province’s policy is after the law is enacted will apply equally to all colleges.

Marijuana legalization is set for July 1, 2018, which will permit 18+ adults to purchase cannabis or grow it on their own.

At Humber College, these upcoming societal changes are bringing forth varied responses from staff and students alike.

Ahmed Tahir, former president of IGNITE, said he welcomes the legalization of marijuana as long as people know how to use it safely and it is not abused.

“Once it is legalized, there is a good chance IGNITE will put on events to educate people about the safe consumption of marijuana,” Tahir said. “These type of events are important in the same way you see events happening on campus about the safe consumption of alcohol.”

He said his personal opinion on marijuana use is it should be treated as a health issue and not a criminal issue. Tahir said he has seen the many positive medical benefits of marijuana, and current research into the medicinal aspect of it is only just scratching the surface.

“In the same way that alcohol helps as a stress reliever, I think marijuana has a similar benefit,” Tahir said.

Lyn Borth, a Humber Media Communications student, said marijuana has many helpful properties for mental health.

“It aids in anxiety. You can get strains that help you focus,” Borth said. “It’s a very good non- pharmaceutical solution to some problems and I think as college students, we really need that because not everybody wants to be constantly popping pills.”