Students react to residence cannabis ban

“It’s out there, people are going to have it, people are going to use it"

While some may be enjoying the first week of legalized cannabis, students living on the U of M Fort Garry campus have been left without a place to smoke.

U of M residences prohibit the use of cannabis anywhere on residence property, even after it was legalized in Canada on Oct. 17, as per provincial legislation.

In the days leading up to the legalization date, U of M residences sent an email to all students living on campus summarizing the rules related to cannabis.

The email states that marijuana cannot be recreationally consumed, prepared, cooked, grown, sold, produced or delivered on residence property.

First-time offenders who break any of these rules will be fined a minimum of $50.

The email also notes that “delayed response in opening your door and/or attempts to remove or mask the smell of smoking cannabis indoors will raise further suspicion and increase the severity of the sanction levied.”

Caylin Campbell, a U1 student living in the residences on campus, said the rules were unfair.

“Obviously if you are caught with marijuana in your room you should be punished but not if you have a delayed response to opening your door,” she said.

“You could be in the shower or bathroom or maybe even sleeping or have headphones in and not hear your door being knocked on.”

The 2018-19 residence contract has been updated to reflect the cannabis legalization to state  “evidence of drug traces or drug paraphernalia, or the smell of a prohibited substance on residence property will be assumed to be conclusive of use or possession.”

Calvin Haase, a student living in residence, does not agree with current residence policy on cannabis and is against the prohibition.

“It’s out there, people are going to have it, people are going to use it,” said Haase. “But I get why they want to have some control over it.”

Provincial legislation states cannabis cannot be consumed on public property, which includes the U of M campus. UMSU and the university are discussing the possibility of allowing edibles in private dorms.

“I wouldn’t like to see marijuana allowed because it can smell,” Campbell said. “Although I think that edible candies and stuff like that should be allowed as it doesn’t smell.”

Justin Podoll, a student who lives in residence, thinks the wording of the email and contract leaves room for interpretation that may be abused by security.

“I respect that the university can set their own rules and have their own policies against the use of cannabis, but I think if they’re going to use more rules like that, they can’t have them subjective-based,” Podoll said.