Legalizing Cannabis to Raise Security Questions on Ontario’s Humber College Campus

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High times ahead don’t necessarily mean free times at Humber College.

Canada’s federal government is poised to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in the upcoming months, but it may not mean students will be able to smoke-up on Humber College’s campus.

Rob Kilfoyle, Humber College’s director of Public Safety, said there are some students, who think smoking marijuana would be allowed on campus once it is legalized nationwide. 

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.

Robert Kilfoyle - Legalizing Cannabis to Raise Security Questions on Ontario’s Humber College Campus
Rob Kilfoyle poses in front of a computer at Humber Collge.

Kilfoyle said he flagged the issue of cannabis 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 Spokesperson on Cannabis Legalization

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

He said:

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

“Preliminary work is underway at Humber to prepare for the potential implications of the legislation for our campus,” Leopold continued.

He said Humber College will align its campus policies with the legislative requirements governing the sale and use of marijuana, as well as focus its approach on safe use.

“With the new legislation, we anticipate the need to provide additional health education regarding safe and responsible cannabis use and the potential implications of use on mental health, especially for those under 25,” Leopold said.

Legalizing marijuana this summer will permit 18+ adults to purchase cannabis or grow it on their own.

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Smoke rises during the annual 4/20 marijuana rally on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, April 20, 2018. (Image via Reuters)

Students React

At Humber College, these upcoming societal changes are bringing 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.”

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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.

Tahir said:

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

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.”

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Demetre James Politis is a journalism student at Humber College and a freelance reporter.

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