The Niagara News is the community newspaper of Niagara College located in Welland and Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada. It is created and produced by the students of the Niagara College Journalism program.
Medical marijuana users will need more than just rolling papers to smoke on campus.
Students looking to medicate on campus will need not only proof of registration with Health Canada but also a letter of accommodation from the college.
Vice-president of Academic and Learner Services at Niagara College, Steve Hudson, says: “Students are asked to meet with a counsellor and provide medical documentation and depending on the form of medicinal cannabis, they may be provided with an outside location on campus where they can use medicinal cannabis as required.”
Students who need assistance or information regarding the use of medicinal cannabis on campus should contact Health, Wellness and Accessibility Services (HWAS).
Manager of HWAS for Niagara College, Jay Burdon, says: “It’s an informal process,” and that the college is currently in the process of updating its policy. As it stands, students will be asked to show their medical marijuana card then HWAS will create a letter of accommodation, which the student is asked to carry with them.
“It is to the student’s discretion who sees it: specific teachers, security and so on,” says Burdon.
According to the latest updates to the Smoke Free Ontario Act, medical cannabis is to be treated the same as tobacco and e-cigarettes – limited to designated areas but allowed in public.
On campus this includes smoking sections, but be prepared to show proof of registration with Health Canada and a letter of accommodation from the college.
Otherwise, the rules surrounding marijuana use on campus will not change with the upcoming legalization of recreational cannabis on Oct. 17.
There will be no place on campus for non-medical use of cannabis.
According to Bill 174, the Cannabis, Smoke-Free Ontario, and Road Safety Statute Law Amendment Act, 2017, the use of recreational cannabis is banned from all public spaces and is only allowed in private residences – depending on building rules or lease agreements.
All Niagara College residences are smoke-free.
Chanel Gotthardt, a resident assistant and second-year Educational Assistant program student and residence assistant at the Welland campus, says students living on campus as of Oct. 17 will be allowed to possess the legal limit of 30 grams of dried cannabis.
However, there will be “no smoking on residence at all – cigarettes, medical cannabis or otherwise,” Gotthardt said.