...

  • Sign Up
  • Post Time POSTED OCTOBER 16, 2018
Canada’s government has motioned that it will legalize cannabis for recreational purposes. On October 1 of this year, Canada will become the first G7 nation where the adult use of cannabis is permitted for both medical patients and recreational users. As reform looms, however, there are still a number of questions that need to be answered.

The most pressing questions among those: What will the reality of recreational cannabis look like in the workplace? Where will recreational cannabis users be able to congregate? And how will colleges and universities adapt campus drug policies to better reflect laws being implemented at the federal level?

As an effort to help guide the discourse among academics about cannabis, and reform, a number of advocacy groups have sparked efforts of late. One of the leading voices on the topic, Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy (CSSDP) is mandated to advocate for drug policy reform, both on campus and at the municipal, provincial and federal levels.

Heather D’Alessio, chapter liaison for CSSDP, says the organization works to help reframe policies to fit a more “pragmatic” and evidence-based approach, rather than a criminal justice approach, to drugs. On campus, she says, that work typically involves educating both sides of the conversation about all aspects of responsible cannabis use.

“As institutions scramble to come up with new policy frameworks for how best to deal with cannabis on campus, people need to be informed,” she says. “For so long, they could just say, ‘it’s illegal – don’t do it.’ But now that legalization is coming forward, we have to look at the intricacies of different types of cannabis consumption, and if it’s going to be allowed on campus.”

In Ontario, D’Alessio points out, campuses are almost all moving to smoke-free policies. While initially conceived to combat cigarette smoking, the move will see that combusting cannabis flowers remains outlawed. But, D’Alessio questions, what does that mean for adult users who live on campus? Also, will campuses look to outlaw the use of oils and edibles when reform becomes a reality?

Kira London-Nadeau, who is on the national board for CSSDP, believes the answer to all of these questions is a solution that respects the agency of an adult recreational user, whether student or not. For London-Nadeau, reform is ideally going to serve on campus as the catalyst to a renewed dialogue on not just cannabis policy, but also harm reduction.

“Harm reduction is an approach that you’re starting to see more and more at universities,” she says. “Our approach before was simple – just say no – but now that cannabis is legal, we have to have more in-depth conversations about sensible drug use and policies, which come with harm reduction efforts.”

Regardless of how legalization ends up playing out on Canadian campuses this fall, there will no doubt be a number of advocates lobbying for a sensible approach to cannabis use at colleges and universities in the country. Already, reform is beginning to usher in hope for a new conversation about harm reduction, and the general need for amended drug policies on campus.

REVIEWS

Review this article to help us continue creating and sharing relevant content.

Write Review
Would you like to
make this review public?