What legalization looks like for you

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October 17 brings a new wave of rules and regulations to the country as cannabis becomes legal nationwide. Before you start to partake, read over the policies in place for Canada, BC, Nanaimo, and Vancouver Island University.

National policy

The Cannabis Act is Canada’s guideline for policy nationwide. This legal framework deals with production, distribution, sale, and possession across the country. The legal age for consumption and interaction with cannabis has been set at 18 years old nationwide. This may vary from province to province, however in BC legal age will be 19.

Citizens will be legally able to possess up to 30 grams of dried legal cannabis or the equivalent in non-dried form while in public. Sharing of up to 30 grams between those 18 years or older will be allowed.

Provincial policy

The BC Liquor and Cannabis Distribution Branch (LCDB) will be responsible for cannabis sales for the majority of the province. Government-regulated specialty stores will exist independently from BC Liquor Stores. Even though both substances will be available through BC Liquor, the simultaneous intoxication of liquor and cannabis will be prohibited in public. Driving under the influence of cannabis will be subject to fines and jail time.

Use in public spaces will generally be allowed in spaces where tobacco smoke and vaping are permitted. Only medical cannabis will be allowed in areas frequented by children, including parks and playgrounds. Use of cannabis in any form is banned for all occupants in vehicles.

Citizens 19 years and older will be allowed to grow up to four plants per household. Plants must not be visible from public spaces off the property. Landlords and strata councils are allowed to prohibit or restrict cultivation.

Municipal policy

As of October 12, 2018, the City of Nanaimo continues to work towards setting up bylaws for cannabis. A task force presented recommendations to Council on July 9, 2018, and was approved to move forward with the project. Final adoption of the recommendations is scheduled for Fall of 2018. These bylaws will cover zoning, business licensing, smoking bylaws, and any areas the task force feels need to be addressed.

University policy

While Vancouver Island University has designated areas for use of tobacco, smoking of cannabis will still be prohibited on all campuses and use of cannabis during academic classes will be prohibited and considered under the policy of alcohol or drugs. Both tobacco and cannabis will be prohibited to use in University-owned vehicles.

With the variable of cannabis being used for medicinal purposes, these policies are subject to change. Students who use medical cannabis will need to register with VIU’s Disability Access Services prior to use, and cases will be assessed on an individual basis on how the need will be reasonably accommodated. Employees must notify the Human Resources Department prior to use and it will be determined whether the user can be accommodated. Neither students or staff need to disclose the specific medical diagnosis that requires medicinal cannabis, but documentation authorizing the use will be needed for VIU to consider accommodations.

VIU Residence policy

Currently, VIU residence has set up guidelines in preparation of legalization that deal with the challenge of students living on university property. All policies, from federal down to campus level, have been taken into consideration. Although these are currently working points that are still being tweaked, VIU Residence has combined the expectations of all policies in place.

Those living on residence will follow the same guidelines set out by the University, meaning that cannabis consumption will not be allowed in residence or on the property in any area. This will include edibles. The delivery of cannabis via mail or delivery services will not be permitted to Student Residences. Residents of legal age will be allowed to possess no more than the maximum personal allowance of 30 grams, and appropriate storage containment is required. Growth of cannabis will not be allowed on residence property.