Cannabis likely to be eased into current smoking policy, UVSS says

Details about the policy will be released some time before the Oct. 17 legalization date, university says

File photo by Brandon Everell

With less than two months until consumption of cannabis is officially legalized across the country, updates on how UVic will implement the substance continue to surface.

In an Aug. 27 UVSS board meeting absent of any new motions, Lead Directors Pierre-Paul Angelblazer and Curtis Whittla both reported that they have attended workshops on how the university will treat Canada’s legalization cannabis on campus and for its students.

“Our previous Director of Campaigns & Community Relations (Anmol Swaich) was hired by the university to undertake the education portion of the transition to a legal cannabis society,” Angelblazer said in an email. “Part of that is creating workshops around cannabis uses, risks, benefits, and just overall knowledge about it.”

Angelblazer reported that all five of the UVSS Lead Directors were asked to sit and listen to the university’s draft presentation of cannabis policy, and were asked to offer feedback before the program is finalized.

“The UVSS is working together with the university to ensure a smooth transition happens Oct. 17,” Angelblazer said.

Angelblazer added that all signs are pointing to the university folding cannabis into the current smoking policy rather than completely banning it like other universities across the country.

“Part of that is ensuring that everything is done in a destigmatizing approach that treats cannabis like any other legal substance. Obviously, one of the steps so far has been to take a look at the educational component but we’re also hoping to be able to see the final text of the proposed policy changes very soon.”

Angelblazer added that all signs are pointing to the university folding cannabis into the current smoking policy rather than completely banning it like other universities across the country.

The current smoking policy, which has been in place since 2011, bans smoking inside of Ring Road altogether, and only permits it at 15 designated benches outside the main campus community.

However, whether the benches will be converted into tobacco-only or cannabis-only areas is still up for speculation.

A university representative told the Martlet that UVic is currently finalizing their protocol on recreational cannabis use, and will have more specific details about the policy before the federal government–mandated date of cannabis legalization on Oct. 17.

“The university has consulted with the campus community about legalized cannabis use and expects to have a protocol in place and will provide details before Oct. 17,” Paul Marck, associate manager of Public Affairs, said in an email.

As Canada moves towards legalization, other universities across the country have started sharing their own specific policies to handle the transition.

The University of Guelph has said the consumption of cannabis will only be allowed in private residences, while Queen’s University has banned pot smoking throughout the campus but declared that students of legal age can consume edibles in their rooms and own up to 30g of dried cannabis.

Provincial policy in Québec, the province bans all smoking on campus, and McGill University has outlawed the consumption of all forms of cannabis, including edibles and drinkables, on its grounds.

Angelblazer said the policy changes at UVic were to be finalized by the end of August or early September, and expects new details of the university’s cannabis policy to be released in the coming days.

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