U of A to restrict cannabis smoking on campus, including residences

University of Alberta students will be be limited to smoke cannabis in limited spaces on campus. but not allowed to smoke in residence buildings.

Working group produces final report to inform university's approach to legal weed

The University of Alberta has come out with a report of recommendations for how to handle issues around cannabis after it becomes legal Oct. 17. (University of Alberta)

Students at the University of Alberta won't be able to light up legal cannabis wherever they choose.

After the drug becomes legal on Oct. 17, cannabis smoking will be restricted to specific locations on campus — and residence buildings won't be among them, according to recommendations in the final report from a cannabis working group.

The report, which includes 19 separate recommendations, has been approved by administration.

It followed eight months of consultation, town halls, surveys and research.

Here are a few highlights from the recommendations:

  • Smoking and vaping of cannabis will be allowed on campus but restricted to locations which haven't yet been determined.
  • Growing, smoking, vaping and cooking cannabis won't be allowed in residence buildings.
  • Cannabis consumption won't be allowed at university events for a year.
  • Sales, advertising, branding, and sponsorship of cannabis products will be banned on campus.

The university plans to review its cannabis policies in six months and again in a year.

"There'll be things we'll likely get right in terms of those recommendations and there's probably things that will continue to be evaluated and tweaked and changed as we go," said Kevin Friese, dean of student health and wellness at the U of A.

Edmonton post-secondary institutions are working on their approaches to cannabis, which becomes legal Oct. 17. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

While the City of Edmonton hasn't made a final decision on it's public spaces bylaw about restrictions of public consumption, any changes would affect the university's plan for designated smoking spots.

A bylaw proposed in June required cannabis smokers to be 10 metres from a doorway, patio or bus stop.

"Our goal around this had been to try and acknowledge that there will certainly be members of the community who won't use cannabis," Friese said.

"We recognize that providing clear information is important and we recognize that people will elect to use and if they are, our hope is we can establish clear guidelines to minimize the impact on all members of the community.

"And to ensure that for those who are going to use that they can do so safely."

MacEwan University is finalizing its cannabis policy but has not made details public.

NAIT doesn't have a specific cannabis policy, but a NAIT department manager told CBC the school will have cannabis included in its non-smoking policy. Cannabis has been also included into the school's impairment policy, which addresses a student's ability to learn and work safely.



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Travis McEwan


Travis McEwan is a video journalist who has not won any awards. Originally from Churchill, Man., he's spent the last decade working at CBC Edmonton. Email story ideas to travis.mcewan@cbc.ca