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Canadian Universities, Colleges Moving Ahead With Cannabis Policies For Recreational Use

Some campuses are more lenient than others.

With the legalization of recreational marijuana fast approaching, Canadian universities and colleges are working hard to lay out their campus policies for cannabis use.

While many institutions are still finalizing the details, many plans are ready to go.

These are the policies currently laid out across Canada.

Memorial University of Newfoundland - St. John's

Memorial University has been smoke-free since 2013. This policy includes cannabis.

"Edibles have not been legalized under the current ... legislation and violations would continue to be addressed through law enforcement as they have been in the past," university spokesperson Dave Sorensen said in an email to HuffPost Canada.

Douglas College - New Westminster, B.C.

Douglas College went smoke-free on Sept. 1. Like Memorial, this policy includes cannabis use.

McMaster University - Hamilton, Ont.

McMaster was Ontario's first smoke-free university. It will continue to honour its policy when it comes to marijuana.

Dalhousie University - Halifax

Dalhousie has been smoke-free since 2003. Its policy also includes smoking cannabis. Students over 19 living in residence will be allowed to store cannabis in their rooms as long as the smell is not detectable outside of their room. Smoking marijuana will still be forbidden on campus, as will be smoking or possessing cannabis for students under 19. Selling and growing cannabis in residence will continue to be banned, as will be giving marijuana to students below the legal age. Displaying cannabis paraphernalia like bongs or pipes in windows or display cases will also not be allowed.

Mayara Klingner / EyeEm via Getty Images

University of Toronto - Toronto

U of T has non-smoking residences. It also prohibits smoking in university buildings, and both of these rules will extend to cannabis.

"Under Ontario's Cannabis Act, use of cannabis will be banned in all workplaces and public spaces. At U of T, that includes offices, classrooms, libraries, athletic facilities, and campus grounds," Heather Kenny, U of T's senior director of student success, told HuffPost Canada.

George Brown College - Toronto

The school is also joining the growing smoke-free brigade.

"As of August 20, 2018, George Brown College became a smoke-free environment. This means that smoking or vaping tobacco or cannabis substances is prohibited at all campus locations including classrooms, facilities and student residence spaces. Those who wish to smoke must do so off campus and at least nine metres away from any college entrance," media relations manager Joyann Callender told HuffPost Canada.

Mohawk College - Hamilton, Ont.

Mohawk is working towards becoming a smoke-free campus, with smoking only permitted in designated areas.

The college expects provincial regulations to make it illegal to use cannabis on campus, as it would qualify as a public place, according to spokesperson Jay Robb. Growing and smoking any substance are already banned in residence.

Carleton University - Ottawa

Carleton laid out its post-legalization plan recently. Anyone over 19 is allowed to have maximum of 30 grams of dried cannabis on them in public, but recreational cannabis use, and growing cannabis will not be allowed on campus. Edibles will still be illegal and will not allowed on campus. Like alcohol, online cannabis delivery is also banned.

University of Waterloo - Waterloo, Ont.

The university is still working on its finalized policies but anticipates edibles being legal in residence buildings. Smoking cannabis will continue to be prohibited, as residence building ban smoking of any kind.

Cannabis use will continue to be prohibited on campus, and like Carleton, marijuana mail deliveries will not be allowed.

Marijuana legally grown at a farm in Oregon.
Anna Spysz via Getty Images
Marijuana legally grown at a farm in Oregon.

University of Otttawa - Ottawa

UOttawa will ban cannabis use and growing on campus, as it is a public place, which will fall in line with provincial regulations. Students in residence will also be forbidden from cannabis use, as the school's residences do not qualify as private. Selling and/or consuming edibles is also forbidden from campus. The university says medical marijuana use will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

University of Alberta - Edmonton

The university's working group report was approved by administration, which is now working out final details for the institution's policy, including the locations for designated consumption spaces.

The report recommends designated consumption spots on campus for smoking and vaping. Smoking, vaping and growing cannabis will continue to be forbidden inside residences and other campus buildings, as is cooking with cannabis. The sale, advertising and sponsorship of cannabis will not be allowed on campus.

Cannabis consumption at university and student group events will be banned for at least a year, as the administration assesses the risks.

The university will also begin implementing harm reduction strategies, and will review the overall cannabis policy in six months and again in a year after legalization kicks in.

We know that telling people not to consume cannabis or alcohol has been proven to be ineffective.Debbie Bruckner, University of Calgary

University of Calgary - Calgary

The University of Calgary rolled out its new guidelines on Tuesday. Cannabis cannot be used in any form, grown or distributed on campus, but people are permitted to have a small amount on them in sealed containers.

The university also plans to focus on harm reduction.

"We know that telling people not to consume cannabis or alcohol has been proven to be ineffective," Debbie Bruckner, senior director of student wellness, said in a press release. "Rather we want to promote harm reduction, by building a safe and supportive community and offering a variety of support and resources so people will feel comfortable enough to access them."

University of British Columbia - Vancouver

UBC's revised cannabis policy goes to its Board of Governors for approval on Thursday. The draft states that the smoking and vaping of cannabis will be treated the same as tobacco on campus, but edibles are unaffected. If the government legalizes edibles, the university says they will automatically apply. On UBC residences, the growing, smoking and vaping of cannabis will continue to be forbidden. Cannabis stored in residence rooms must be clearly labelled and cannot disturb other residents, the draft states. The university is also planning on introducing no-smoking areas on campus grounds.

University of Manitoba - Winnipeg

UBC's draft policy also makes note of the University of Manitoba's cannabis rules.

"The University of Manitoba cannabis rules ban all smoking of cannabis on campus, while not prohibiting other forms of consumption, which would still need to be consumed in accordance with provincial law. They have also banned the sale of cannabis on campus," the draft states.

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Fleming College - Peterborough, Ont.

Fleming College will prohibit smoking, vaping, ingestion, inhalation and growing of cannabis on the school's property — including student residences. Medical cannabis is already exempted by the college, and Fleming has a space to accommodate medical users.

McGill University - Montreal

McGill's interim policy will remain in effect from the date of legalization, until the university can finalize a more permanent policy. It states that smoking and vaping cannabis will not be permitted on campus, in line with Quebec regulations banning smoking or vaping marijuana on university campuses. Consuming cannabis in other forms will also be prohibited on campus. People of legal ages will be permitted to have marijuana on them after legalization, except in areas with children, like daycares or summer camps on campus. Growing plants, as well as selling, distributing, and preparing cannabis in any form will also not be allowed on McGill's campus.

Concordia University - Montreal

The Montreal university said that it was currently examining its policies, and would be following the provincial government's lead when it came to any changes.

"We are currently examining our policies and will make whatever adjustments are necessary to ensure they continue to conform to federal and provincial legislation as of October 17. Quebec law is clear: people are not allowed to smoke marijuana on campus in Quebec," spokesperson Mary-Jo Barr said.

Seneca College - Toronto

Seneca said it is working to revamp its policies so that they address cannabis use, and that they would be available on its website after legalization in October.

Wilfrid Laurier University - Waterloo, Ont.

Wilfrid Laurier is also reviewing its policies with the impending legalization of cannabis to see what updates should be made.

"Meanwhile, visitors and members of the university community are expected to abide by existing university policies and federal and provincial legislation," spokesperson Kevin Crowley said.

Ryerson University - Toronto

Ryerson declined to comment on any new policies but said they were working to address marijuana use on campus. A university spokesperson said they would be free to discuss the matter after legalization in October.

Algonquin College - Ottawa

The college declined to comment but said that it was currently putting together a policy to address legalization.

Simon Fraser University - Burnaby, B.C.

SFU is still working on a policy that will fall in line with provincial legislation. A university spokesperson told HuffPost Canada that SFU is also consulting with other universities to see how they are dealing with legalization.

"We are concerned about the use of any substance that may impair the ability of students, faculty or staff to learn, study, teach, conduct research or work. The safety of all members of the university community as well as visitors to our campuses is a major priority for SFU when developing any policies related to cannabis," SFU spokesperson Justin Wong said.

The university will also be looking into whether it should integrate its cannabis policy into its tobacco policy, which bans the distribution of tobacco on campus, and prohibits smoking in university buildings, spaces and near entrances.

"The university is particularly focused on considering how recreational cannabis has the potential to create unsafe conditions and occupational hazards. Any policy developed will not only comply with the new legislative changes on cannabis, but will also prioritize a safe working environment and university experience for students, staff and faculty members," Wong said.

University of Guelph - Guelph, Ont.

A university spokesperson said the school would not be forming any new policies.

"We will be modifying our existing drug and alcohol policy for faculty, staff and students. There will be a cannabis policy for Student Residences, as cannabis will not be allowed except for those with medical exemptions," Lori Hunt said.

University of Victoria - Victoria, B.C.

UVic does not have a policy in place yet, but the university said there will be regulations in place by legalization in October.

Queen's University - Kingston, Ont.

"Queen's University does not have a single, overarching cannabis policy, but our Cannabis Working Group (CWG) that was formed earlier in 2018 has been working to identify and add to/amend all policy areas impacted by the coming legalization...The CWG is also working on a website that will direct faculty, staff, and students to the aforementioned policy changes; a site that will be launching soon," Dave Rideout, a Queen's media spokesperson, told HuffPost Canada.

MmeEmil via Getty Images

Fanshawe College - London, Ont.

"The College has an internal working group which is looking at revisions to our existing policy on Alcohol, Drugs, Electronic Cigarettes and Tobacco Products. The policy will be revised to match the regulations on the legalization of cannabis, once the regulations are available," Elaine Gamble, a college representative, wrote in an email to HuffPost Canada.

York University - Toronto

The Toronto university said it would be presenting a new policy in line with legalization in the fall.

"York University currently uses and complies with the provincial smoking legislation and regulations. We will continue to do so. We do expect to have a new policy in place this fall," Barbara Joy, York University's chief spokesperson, said.

On a broader basis, in line with provincial regulations, provinces like B.C. and Alberta will have much looser regulations on campuses and in public than ones like Ontario and Quebec.

Recreational marijuana will officially be legal in canada on Oct. 17. The sale of edibles is anticipated to be legalized in 2019.

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