In the wake of legalizing cannabis, the UGH plans to have a smoke-free campus altogether. The university is one of many, including Sheridan College and George Brown College in Toronto and the GTA.
Rob Kilfoyle, the director of public safety and emergency management at Humber College said that the new provincial government gives private property owners and employers an exception under the law, allowing them to set their own rules regarding the use of the recreational drug.
Kilfoyle said they are looking forward to making it a smoke free campus in January 2019, banning the smoking of tobacco on the property.
“We hope that students will take advantage of smoking associations like learning how to quit smoking and some educational awareness around the effects of marijuana,” said Kilfoyle.
He said that currently the use of marijuana on campus is prohibited with only the consumption of tobacco allowed.
Cannabis is a relatively harmless drug compared to alcohol and other drugs according to Daniel Bear, a professor at Humber College.
Bear specializes in drug policy, drugs policing, community policing and prisons, and is currently teaching criminal justice to post-secondary classes.
He said that from a neurological perspective cannabis interacts in a part of the brain that allows us to form new memories and often also distort the existing ones.
Bear said that consumption of cannabis makes a person forgetful and often hurts the brain so much, that it can affect the development of new memory.
So, Bear said students should not use marijuana for study purposes.
Parteek Singh Thind, a student at Humber College said that he is happy that it is legalized as people used it regardless of its legalization.
“I use it fearlessly now. The legalization I believe, will at least bring an end to the black market for marijuana,” he said.
Romina Mizrahi, head of Focus on Youth Psychosis Prevention Clinic at the Toronto-based Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) said that cannabis use is directly associated with the dampening or reduction in neurochemical systems in the brain.
“The brains of people younger than 25 are particularly susceptible to these effects because they are still developing. It is even more dangerous to be consumed by people under the age of 16, or frequently used by others, leading them to feel paranoid, hear voices or even have a psychological breakdown,” said Mizrahi.
There are plenty of people who use cannabis to relax after a long day in the same way as some people have a glass of vine or beer, said Bear.
He said that, however, some people claim that using marijuana helps them think critically and creatively which is an interesting component, taking for example the Beatles and their consumption of cannabis as a part of the making of their music.
Bob Marley, a Jamaican singer-songwriter who became an international musical and cultural icon also used marijuana. “I have no doubt that some individuals may feel that way but again it is about responsible use in moderation,” said Bear.
Sandeep Goyat, a student a Humber College said, “I would want to have the choice to smoke a joint during long breaks between classes just as some students would go grab a drink after class at the Linx Lounge at Humber College until last year when they served alcohol.” He added he feels more organized and attentive after using a tiny bit of cannabis before class.
Ajani Grant-Stuart, a first year student at Humber College, said “whenever I smoke and write a test, it helps me focus.”
Stuart said as long as it’s not disrupting the classroom or learning, using it in moderation should not be prohibited by the school.
Mizrahi of CAMH said that studies have shown significant changes in memory and attention, which are improved, following abstinence, She said this happens when adults stop using it. However, it is not clear whether the same reversal happens in adolescence.
“I would advise users to use both cannabis and alcohol in moderation,” said Bear.