The impending Oct. 17 date for Canadian nationwide legalization of recreational marijuana usage won’t provide unrestricted smoking opportunities.
This will be especially true for students, as universities across the nation clarify their tobacco and cannabis smoking policies ahead of the legalization date.
The Cannabis Act, officially passed on June 21 and due to take effect next month, comes with a lengthy list of regulations and restrictions. Including among those stipulations is the rule that marijuana usage is only allowed for adults (19+) and often only in their private residences.
Specific usage, transportation, and selling rules can vary by province, however. Alberta, for instance, has no public spaces yet approved for marijuana usage and no legal cannabis lounges will be allowed to operate there until October of 2019.
In most cases, marijuana usage won’t be allowed in the workplace or in university dorm rooms, which otherwise might be considered a “private residence”.
According to a report from CTV News Ottawa, the University of Ottawa has reiterated its stance that recreational usage, growing, or even online deliveries of cannabis will not be allowed on campus – including at campus residences.
Not all University of Ottawa students are thrilled with those rules, such as Olivia Delair, a member of Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy.
According to the CTV Report, Delair stated, “Organizations like ours will be advocating for the people who do use. There will be a fight on their hands because I’ll make sure there’s a fight on their hands.”
The actual effect of these official bans on student usage remains to be seen, especially considering the current rates of usage among students before legalization arrives.
“Even if it’s illegal, people are still going to do it, so it doesn’t change much even if you ban it,” commented first-year Carleton University law student Marko Kovace.
The Canadian Cancer Society released a report earlier this month that 65 college or university campuses across Canada are currently 100% smoke-free, with full bans on indoor and outdoor smoking.
Of those 65 campuses, 44 have policies that specifically prohibit cannabis as well as tobacco. That trend is likely to continue or even increase, as many incoming freshmen are beneath the legal cannabis smoking age.