As Marijuana Legalization Nears, Ryerson Set to Release Campus Smoking Policy

Student smokes outside the Student Learning Centre. (Mira Nabulsi/Ryersonian)

While Ryerson community members will be able to legally smoke marijuana in less than three weeks, university president Mohamed Lachemi says that doesn’t mean they’ll be able to light up anywhere on campus.

Lachemi told the Ryersonian that, starting later this semester, campus administration will prohibit students from smoking and vaping, including tobacco and cannabis, in all of Ryerson’s enclosed buildings and within nine metres of building entrances, exits, loading docks and fresh air intakes. 

“However, we will provide some exceptions for smoking, vaping and medical marijuana related activities for research purposes or medical accommodations,” Lachemi said.

Ryerson already follows Ontario’s Smoke Free Act, a provincial law that prohibits smoking tobacco in various locations, including enclosed public spaces and in and around school grounds. Along with tobacco, the new Smoke and Vape Free Campus Policy will include rules on where community members will not be allowed to smoke pot.

The university did not provide further details on the policy when asked by the Ryersonian, including exactly when the policy will kick in.

Currently, the university’s guidelines ask students who require the use of medicinal marijuana to complete the Disability Accommodation Request form.

The home of the Ram is not the first post-secondary institution bracing itself for the bud.

McMaster University, George Brown College, Humber College and University of Toronto are among those who have either gone smoke-free or are still updating their smoking policy.

When the Ryersonian went around campus, students and community members were seen smoking tobacco and vaping on the steps of the SLC, right next to signs that prohibit smoking  within nine metres of the building.

When the Ryersonian asked students whether they felt their peers will follow the new Smoke and Vape Free Campus Policy, Ryerson student Rola Hamed confidently said, “not at all.”

“Unless there is a really strict fine or a lot of people on the watch, people won’t listen to that at all,” the first-year business management student said while pointing towards students vaping on the steps of the SLC.

“For students who don’t like the smoke, they just walk past us,” Ryerson student Sara Pandurvic said with a shrug, adding that students, smokers, and non-smokers don’t care.”

Story by Max Asper

[Originally published by the Ryersonian in print and online in September 2018]

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