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Cannabis on Campus: Possibility or Pipe Dream?

by Meredith Gauthier

October 18, 2018 | News

Recreational marijuana use will become legal in Canada as of October 17th. We now find ourselves wondering how such a monumental feat will affect our day-to-day lives society-wise, and more specifically in Dawson. One might question how the campus will adapt to this change, or wonder where people would go if someone is in need of help. People must to be aware of the smoking policies and information about the long-term effects cannabis may have if consumed excessively.

Following the recent provincial election, the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) swore to uphold their promise to raise the minimum legal age for cannabis consumption to 21. Possession of cannabis is prohibited on any school ground, be it elementary, secondary, or college-level campuses. Any minor caught in possession of cannabis is in direct violation of the Cannabis Regulation Act. Students may see that as a reason to stop smoking on campus or to quit smoking altogether.

At Dawson, Coordinator of Student Services Dan Boyer is responsible for managing policies that are related to the Student Code of Conduct. He briefly addressed the no-smoking policy recently put in place here on campus, stating that “[our views around smoking cigarettes] have really evolved as a society, and the higher educational institutions have followed suit with the trend, of course. Our [no-smoking] policy came into play on July 1st, with smoking not being allowed on the campus at all. Before that, students were not allowed to smoke within nine meters of the front doors. Then, we went with the entire campus […] it doesn't matter what you're smoking or vaping on the campus.”

The general student population appears to be mostly indifferent to the use of marijuana in everyday life, with some students wholeheartedly supporting its medicinal and recreational values. However, much like alcohol, cannabis can impair you from focusing in class and many agree that school is not the right place to smoke it.

“I do it recreationally, but it’s mostly for medicinal reasons. I use it for my arthritis and my insomnia, since it really helps me wind down before going to bed,” said Arts and Culture student Dharma Defrancesco.

“No one in my family smoked tobacco, I don’t know any [cigarette] smokers. I know a lot more people who smoked weed,” said Cinema and Communications student Josh Lipson.

There is also a question of comparison when it comes to cannabis regulation on campus, as it may or may not be treated the same way as we treat the use of cigarettes.

When asked about these similarities, Lipson responded:

“I believe cigarettes are worse; it’s their choice to make that bad decision. They’re 18, they get to choose for themselves.”

Defrancesco had another perspective to give, as she actively smokes cannabis almost on a daily basis. She had something interesting to say about certain people who claim that smoking actually helps them focus better in class, saying, “For me, I wouldn’t see the point in doing that, I’ve tried it a few times and it did not help me focus at all. It didn’t work out.”

If cannabis was not prohibited on all school grounds, it would be up to the faculty to judge whether or not someone is fit to be in their class while they’re high, especially if they’re being disruptive. It seems that most people simply wouldn’t recommend doing that if the goal is academic success.

In the end, it appears that, in terms of the legalisation, there is little probability that Dawson will change its policies between October 17th and October 18th. Most people believe that marijuana use should be treated the same way that cigarettes are because, like cigarettes and alcohol, it nulls our senses and turns our mind into a blur, making us unable to think clearly.

If a student is in need of help, or find themselves needing assistance from a medical professional, address your issues to campus security. They are trained as First Responders and can help you while they call for more help. For more information please contact Dan Boyer’s at, or in his office at 2E.5-2.



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