Nipping legalization in the bud

TRU moves to ban cannabis ahead of legalization

Come October 17, you may not be able to “toke up” on TRU’s campus. (FILE PHOTO)

Though cannabis will become legal on October 17, you might not be able to light up on campus. That is of course, if TRU’s passes it’s proposed policy on alcohol, cannabis and tobacco.

While medicinal cannabis will still be allowed on campus, albeit with a physician’s prescription and only in areas designated by the university, recreational cannabis will be prohibited. The proposed policy also states that the “promotion, advertising or sale of any cannabis products” is also prohibited.

While this is only a proposed policy and one which likely won’t take effect until right before legalization, according to TRU’s executive communications officer, Darshan Lindsay, the policy itself has been in its consultation period since the end of May.

“It has been out there and it is there for people to look at and provide comment. There is a link there where they can send feedback on the proposed policy. Cannabis is a portion of it,” Lindsay said. “Essentially what the university is doing is merging the previous policies on alcohol and tobacco into one and also including cannabis, recognizing that recreational cannabis will be legal this fall.”

TRU reached out to other universities in Canada before drafting its policy, she said.

Back in March, minutes from TRU’s joint health and safety committee showed a unanimous vote to classify cannabis as an “intoxicant” and oppose the smoking of it on campus. Furthermore, those minutes state that as TRU is “private property”, the university can set its own guidelines.

Joint health and safety committee co-chair and school of trades representative, Pat Barringer, said the banning of the substance is simply a safety concern.

“As far as I’m concerned it is a safety thing. What people do in their own spare in their own time is up to them,” he said. “I can’t have people in here using saws and drills and being under the influence of anything.”

While Barringer sees curtailing the use of cannabis at TRU as primarily a safety issue, he notes that passing the policy and enforcing the ban is completely the responsibility of TRU administration. Even then, he isn’t sure exactly how TRU will enforce the ban.

“If it’s legal, how are you going to punish someone for it? Security doesn’t even talk to smokers who are within 25 feet of a doorway,” he said. “Students, even if they don’t smoke it, will go against the ban as they see it’s an infringement of their rights.”

Despite this TRU is committed to enforcing the ban and taking disciplinary action if necessary once the policy is passed, says Lindsay.

“It is a combination of education about the policies,” she said. “If it is noted that someone is on campus with recreational cannabis, addressing that, often these policies are complaint driven. If there is a complaint.”

While cannabis is certainly the most significant part of the policy, there have also been changes regarding alcohol and tobacco. Both of which were due for an update, says Lindsay.

“Alcohol was undergoing a review just to ensure that it was still in alignment with provincial regulations. So there have been some more recent changes in regulations,” she said. “So it was just ensuring that the policy was up to date and so the smoking or tobacco policy was due for a review within the next six months.”

Though the proposed policy states that events may not “promote alcohol as the focus,” a similar clause can be found in TRU’s current policy on alcohol, says Lindsay.

As well, there is still time to provide feedback on all parts of the policy, Lindsay adds.

“It is a proposed policy at this state, so there is the opportunity to provide some feedback,” she said. “This is proposed, a proposed policy with proposed language.”

You can provide feedback on the proposed policy by sending comments to secretariat@tru.ca before 4:30 p.m. on September 14.