Getting High on School Time

Smoking marijuana isn’t the real issue

Mark Mapoles, Contributor

We all know that smoking is bad for our health and we shouldn’t do it, but there are a lot of things that are bad for our health that people partake in every day. Sitting in classrooms for long periods of time with poor posture is one of those things. This isn’t to say that we should make students stand in classrooms so we can all be healthier. It’s just that, if someone wants to consciously damage their health, let them. Everyone attending university is an adult and should be able to make choices for themselves on how they want to live. With regards to the issue at hand, there are both positives and negatives to banning smoking marijuana on campus which should be examined, though the real responsibility should be put onto students.

The main problem with allowing people to smoke on campus is that smoking and becoming intoxicated can have a negative impact on the classroom. People go to school to learn and having a student who is high in the class can have a negative effect on other students’ learning environment. However, the regulations about what should and should not be tolerated when it comes to medication are not clear. The argument can also be made that if people are allowed to be in class while high on painkillers, then being high on marijuana should be treated the same. According to Medical News Today, “Several studies report the benefits of marijuana use for chronic pain. According to some research, it is as effective as opioids, which are among the most potent pain-relieving drugs.” If people are smoking marijuana to treat their chronic pain, which allows them to be able to attend school and focus on classwork instead of their pain, then they should be allowed to do so.

What the policy should focus on is not about whether to ban smoking entirely, but rather, it should be about punishing people for misbehaving in class while high. If people are high and able to function in a classroom, then there shouldn’t be an issue. It’s when people are a disturbance that it becomes an issue, and in those instances, it’s the individual that’s the problem, not marijuana. Anti-smoking policies do not address the actual problem. People can just walk off campus property and smoke there. They will still be going to class high and if teachers don’t know how to repremand them, then nothing will have changed. The tricky part then becomes: how to figure out if someone is high and what the procedure should be, while still allowing those students who smoke for physical or mental health to be able to function during a stressful stage in life that is being a university student.

Another problem that needs to be addressed is edibles. Banning smoking from campus doesn’t completely solve the issue of students being high on campus. UBC has a policy that is very fitting which restricts people from smoking in busy places but still allows students to use if they choose to. According to CTV news, UBC’s policy is, “On the Vancouver campus, smoking of tobacco and cannabis is prohibited indoors, inside bus shelters, inside UBC vehicles and within eight metres of doors and air intakes.” UBC is proposing changes to treat vaping as smoking. Consumption of edibles will be permitted on UBC’s campus.” This is a policy that allows students to have more freedom with how they want to act on campus. They have more of the responsibility in their learning life. If they want to have an edible and hang out at school after class, then all the power to them. For some, studying while high might be what helps them focus on actually putting in the work to study so they can get A’s.

In the end, it would be nice to see CapU put more onus on the students and give them the freedom to choose how they function on campus. The University should look at taking a more proactive approach for now and let things play out instead of supporting bans and being restrictive. If having a more open and free policy around smoking marijuana on campus doesn’t work out, then they can always learn from this experience and work to ban it down the line.

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