With the use of cannabis now legal in Canada, Universities and Colleges have begun to finalize their policies for cannabis use on campus.
Following the same regulations as smoking or vaping tobacco, UTM students, staff, and faculty aged 19 years or older may smoke or vape cannabis anywhere it is allowed for tobacco, including sidewalks and benches. It is prohibited in enclosed public and work places, including the residential buildings.
UTM will maintain its smoke-free entrances policy, where the smoking or vaping of both tobacco and cannabis is prohibited within 30 feet (9 meters) of all entrances.
At UTM, smoking or vaping cannabis is prohibited in enclosed public spaces, areas of work, and the residential buildings.
As new government policies and regulations arise over the next few months, UTM students may see new requirements for the summer since UTM holds on-campus summer camps each year for children and teenagers from ages 4 to 16.
Looking ahead, the Dean of Student Affairs and Assistant Principal Mark Overton told The Medium “[The University of Toronto] has signaled interest in a policy banning smoking and vaping on all three campuses, but the topic is not scheduled for university governance consideration at this point”.
Some universities and colleges across Ontario have already implemented such policies ahead of the new law.
Ryerson University and York University adopted the smoke-free entrances policy. Mohawk College and University of Windsor elected designated smoking areas. Guelph University, the University of Waterloo, McMaster University, and the University of Western Ontario have all adopted a smoke-free campus policy.
On October 12th, the Sheridan College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning (Sheridan College) adopted a new smoke-free policy which states, “Smoking any form of Tobacco and/or Other Plant Product (such as Cannabis), Vaping and consuming smokeless Tobacco (commonly known as chewing tobacco) will not be permitted anywhere on Sheridan Premises. For clarity, this includes smoking in any vehicles while on Sheridan Premises.”
This new smoke-free policy at the Sheridan campus will effect UTM students in the UTM-Sheridan joint programs, such as CCIT and art and art history, since they are expected to follow the policy as fellow students and visitors of the Sheridan campus.
Instead of forbidding the use of cannabis on campus, UTM aims to educate UTM students about the drug itself, as well as discuss self-regulation and safety precautions. “We’ll use a mix of messages”, stated Overton, “tuned with broader public health campaigns, to cover off as many different populations’ needs as we can, on legal and policy requirements, and health promotion and harm reduction strategies.”
Overton says another prospective initiative for UTM is to contact students “who have a personal or family history of psychiatric illness so that they are aware that regular cannabis use predicts an increased risk of psychosis.”