News / Calgary

Alberta's universities working on cannabis policy

Students and administration in Calgary post-secondary drawing from feds and province to build their own pot policies

A young woman attends the annual 420 marijuana rally in April on Parliament Hill in Ottawa.

Justin Tang / The Canadian Press

A young woman attends the annual 420 marijuana rally in April on Parliament Hill in Ottawa.

How does weed fit in with high-er education? It’s hard to draw a conclusion.

With only months to go before the federal government lights up marijuana legislation, Calgary’s post-secondary institutions are just beginning the process of establishing how dope will fit into academic life.

Both the University of Calgary and Mount Royal University have lit up their own marijuana working groups to look at the federal and provincial rules and pack their own policies through their respective governance processes.

Ryan Wallace, vice president of operations and finance at the University of Calgary Students’ Union is on the school’s working group.

He said the Students’ Union actually has data to draw from when it comes to figuring out where students stand on campus pot consumption — and it’s mixed.

“We want to make sure it’s safe and accessible for students,” Wallace said. “I think that we want students to be able to make their own decisions, we believe in student autonomy ... there’s also a big group of people who are uncomfortable being around cannabis.”

He said there’s a lot of considerations to balance.

The University of Calgary itself is looking into the rules with the group that Wallace is a part of and they will come up with how the school should manage legal substances on campus.

“That effort is guided by provincial rules and regulations, including proposed rules regarding the possession and use of legal Cannabis,” read a statement from the U of C.

In the U.S., some post-secondaries have very stringent policies around smoking up on campus or in general. That’s because there’s a federal law called the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act. For example, Colorado College doesn’t allow students to use marijuana, period.

Mount Royal University’s working group has been formed, but not met yet, so like the U of C, they’re still stingy on details.

“With the Government of Alberta framework in place, a Mount Royal University working group with campus-wide representation is looking into how we can adjust the university’s policies regarding legal marijuana to work within that framework.

“It is important that we address the needs of our community while we update our policies to reflect nuances related to marijuana.”

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