Canadian Psychology Professor Says Universities Should Reconsider Their 'Misguided Prohibition' Of Cannabis

On most university campuses across Canada students will not be allowed to smoke up. And that's a huge mistake, according to University of British Columbia (UBC) psychology professor Zach Walsh, who says these bans will only perpetuate the "misguided prohibition" of cannabis.

Walsh explained that despite stoner stereotypes, many young Canadians who use cannabis are responsible young adults.

"What's important to keep in mind is that we have some really healthy, productive, active young people who are also using cannabis and they're doing it now, they've been doing it before legalization and they’re certainly going to continue to do it after," Walsh told CTV News.

UBC will be one of the few universities in Canada that will allow students to smoke weed on campus, as long as they do so in the designated smoking areas. The University of Alberta is taking a similar approach. Meanwhile, post-secondary institutions such as the University of New Brunswick and the University of Waterloo will ban smoking on campus but will allow students to cook and eat marijuana edibles.

Most of the other universities, however, are banning cannabis on campus, which Walsh sees as a missed opportunity to combat excessive drinking among undergrads.

"I think we can expect that once cannabis is legal, if students are allowed a place to congregate and use it, they may use it instead of alcohol."

And those bans could unfairly impact students who use cannabis for medicinal purposes. As James O'Hara, president and CEO of Canadians for Fair Access to Medical Marijuana says, students with medical licenses will need to be accommodated.

"[Universities] need to enable access and acknowledge that there is definitely a need from a medical patient point of view. Then, if they like, if there are certain areas that they don't want people consuming in, then by all means set up specific areas that medical cannabis patients can consume in."

As cannabis becomes increasingly normalized post-legalization many schools across the country are likely to re-evaluate their regulations. However, most university students shouldn't be expecting to be allowed to have a sesh in the dorm rooms on October 17.


Because it has been illegal or stigmatized for decades, the body of cannabis research available is, in many ways, incomplete. But Canada’s federal government is taking advantage of the country’s status as the only G7 country to have legalized marijuana and addressing that issue. It was announced yesterday that nearly 25 million dollars will be used to fund cannabis research in Canada.

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