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New marijuana policies for campuses still on hold

Algonquin students will have to wait to find out how new policies surround marijuana legislation will affect them on campus.

While the Oct.17 legalization edges closer to a reality, the college has yet to release its updated policies regarding marijuana use — though discussions are apparently ongoing.

“The college has been very open in discussions,” said Karl Houlihan, a Students’ Association student director. The SA has been in direct discussion hoping to see its priorities acknowledge.

One of the key demographics on campus are the students who live in residence.

“Preservation of the home environment” is key for this demographic, explained Houlihan. An interesting dilemma exists for students who live in residence.

As legalization approaches, questions have continued to be asked about access and supply of marijuana. The Ontario government has made it clear that no physical stores will exist until 2019. They will, however, have an online store where Ontario residents can legally purchase their product as of Oct. 17, 2018.

So why does this matter for students in residence?

They will be expected to comply with the Residence Community Living Standards. Infractions are weighted by points, less severe infractions, level 1, being worth one to two points and more severe, level 3, four to six points.

The 2018/17 standards excludes students from possessing pipes, bongs, grinders, vaporizers, roach clips and ashtrays. having any of these items would lead to a level 1 infraction.

Any student who acquires between five and eight points will find themselves on probation. This may include a behavioral contract, suspension or denial of re-admission to residence. A student who acquires nine or more points will face eviction from residence.

Any level 3 offenses could lead to an immediate eviction.

For students in residence that wish to participate in the legal market, they will have to order through the online store. Even though the campus residence is supposed to replicate the home environment — there is no evidence yet that students will be allowed to do this.

So that leaves residence students with few options. Some will inevitably turn to the black market. But according to the Residence Community Living Standards “any act that contradicts the law of the land” is a level 3 violation. In theory, this behaviour would lead to an eviction from residence.

Houlihan acknowledged that they are working closely with the administration to update the college’s policies but there is a lack of clarity at the federal and provincial levels which makes it difficult to finalize the new policies.

Colin Bonang, director of risk management, and Earl Green, manager of security services, chose not to comment on the policies at this time.

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