Quebec post-secondary institutions crack down on cannabis

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WATCH: With the federal cannabis regulation act set to come into effect next week, some CEGEPS and universities have decided to ban all forms of smoking on campus. As Global's Anne Leclair reports, it's all about butting out rather than lighting up – Oct 12, 2018

Cannabis will be legal and likely very accessible in less than one week for people over 18 years of age.

What does that mean for students in CEGEPs and universities? Despite new provincial legislation that clearly forbids the consumption of cannabis on school grounds, many post-secondary institutions are taking extra measures.

“As of Oct. 17, everyone’s going to find themselves in new unchartered water so we decided to be proactive,” Vanier College’s director of communications Darren Becker said. “As of Aug. 13, Vanier became a smoke-free campus that basically means smoking of any and all substances including tobacco and marijuana is not permitted.”

Under Bill 157, Quebec’s cannabis regulation act, the consumption of marijuana is prohibited on school grounds. Still, many post-secondary institutions have done their homework and are following the advice of anti-smoking groups by adopting their own rules.

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“With cigarette smoking, we were a bit more tolerant,” Becker said. “But for actual consumption of marijuana, first-time offenders will be disciplined.”

It’s a similar story at Dawson College. The campus became smoke-free on July 1.

READ MORE: Durham College, UOIT ban smoking on campus; Trent still updating its policy

With no more designated smoking areas on many campuses, students will likely end up lighting up on the street. Legal experts warn it could get tricky for students attending schools in boroughs where cannabis has been outlawed in all public places.

“If they also can’t smoke on the street, I don’t know where they’re going to smoke, could be an issue,” Avi Levy, lawyer and founder of said. “I’m already getting calls from medical patients that have a prescription to smoke cannabis.”

The St-Laurent borough recently amended its smoking bylaw to ban all substances — something the borough mayor wishes the city of Montreal had done.

“We have a bylaw that says that the consumption or use of cannabis is not allowed in public places or parks,” St-Laurent borough mayor Alan DeSousa said. “We don’t want it to be a free-for-all.”

Concordia University has yet to take extra measures but McGill University has adopted a strict smoking ban that forbids the consumption of all cannabis-related products including edibles.

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READ MORE: It’s official: Newfoundland will allow Canada’s first legal marijuana sales since 1923

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