Cannabis on campus

October 15, 2018 | Society, Campus Life, Health
On October 17, 2018 cannabis becomes legal across the country, and many students, staff and faculty are curious about what that means for campus life at MacEwan.

Over the past several months, the university has been considering the implications of legalization. We established a cannabis implementation working group, and hosted town hall events where students, staff and faculty had the opportunity to share their thoughts, questions and opinions on legalization and its impact on MacEwan.

Here are a few things you need to know:

What is MacEwan’s policy regarding cannabis use?

According to Michelle Plouffe, vice-president and General Counsel at the university, “MacEwan doesn’t have a standalone policy regarding cannabis use, and there is no plan to introduce one. Generally, use of cannabis will follow municipal, provincial and federal law, with certain exceptions and considerations being handled through existing policies.”

Special considerations include:

  • Smoking cannabis will be permitted in two of the university's designated smoking areas: one on the southeast corner of campus (near Building 5), and one on the northwest corner of campus (near the University Residence building). See map for details.
  • Cannabis use in any area where children are present is strictly prohibited.
  • Work or learning environments that are safety-sensitive, or have special considerations (e.g., labs, equipment operation, athletic facilities) may have a zero-tolerance policy for cannabis use.
  • Practicum or workplace providers may have different rules regarding cannabis use, which need to be respected by students, faculty and staff.
  • Cannabis plants may not be grown or kept in Residence suites or office spaces.

There are some university policies that indirectly address cannabis use, including:

What is MacEwan’s stance on cannabis use?

As an institution, we hold no opinion or judgment on the use of cannabis. “Our priority is to ensure a safe and healthy working and learning environment in which our students and staff can succeed,” says Michelle. “This has always been our stance, and it isn’t affected by the legalization of cannabis.”

How does MacEwan deal with impairment?

We recognize that cannabis has the potential to cause impairment. We take impairment seriously, as it can result in unsafe, unhealthy or inappropriate behaviour.

When addressing behaviour concerns due to impairment, we:

  • Understand that impairment can be caused by many factors, including legal or illegal substances, fatigue or illness
  • Are concerned with the behaviour arising from the impairment, not the cause of the impairment
  • Seek to resolve the issue in a way that protects the dignity of all involved
  • Recognize that substance use does not equal impairment
  • Do not need proof of impairment to address inappropriate behaviour

Where can I get more information on cannabis use?

For information on employee medical accommodation and cannabis use in the workplace, speak to your supervisor or employee and labour relations manager.

For information on mental health and addictions supports, contact Wellness and Psychological Services for students, or the Employee Family Assistance Program for employees.

For general information about cannabis use and legalization, visit municipal, provincial and federal government websites.

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