Pubdate: Thu, 26 Oct 2017
Source: Silhouette, The (CN ON Edu)
Copyright: 2017 The Silhouette, McMaster Students Union.
Author: Alex Bak


The recent announcement of the smoking ban and the growing prominence
of the Breathe Easy Campaign has fractured the McMaster community

Some seem adamantly opposed to the legalization of weed and its
association with an academic community, others feel that we should
take a more open-minded perspective. The most interesting feedback
were the students who conveyed a stance against excluding weed from
the McMaster smoking ban. Given that Canada has made room for
marijuana by legalizing it federally in Canada, making room for the
substance on campus should also be considered.

When interviewed, a McMaster student said, "I think that the
legalization of marijuana and its presumed effects on campus won't
affect me. It's like smoking: majority of my friends do it, doesn't
mean that I will.

It definitely will intensify the pressure to start smoking [marijuana]
but I've gone 19 years already. I doubt a bill that's simply following
the footsteps of what's already been going on will break my streak."

Being aware of all the different layers at play to pass this
legislation, in addition to understanding the smoking ban policy on
campus, being mindful is a key component of understanding the bigger
picture┬ů and not just in blazing sense.

The McMaster smoking ban will prohibit all forms of smoking on campus
encompassing both tobacco and marijuana. The goal is that this will be
carefully regulated on campus in a "phased" manner. Though McMaster
hopes to remove smoke from campus and promote a healthy smoke free
environment for McMaster students, the chance that current smokers
with adhere to this is likely to be slim.

The Breathe Easy campaign is set to improve overall health for Mac
students by eliminating secondhand smoke for those who do not want to
be subject to its effects. This is essential because, though some may
not know this, cigarettes and smoke is actually something that
students can be allergic to. I can personally vouch for this, as I
have a friend who actually is allergic to smoke, and struggles to
breathe when exposed to its effects by other students. In retrospect,
if nut allergies can be respected, so can smoke-related allergies.

A major point in the arsenal for fellow students who are against the
ban in the context of marijuana is the fact that medical marijuana
users will be marginally affected. In light of recent weed protests
organized by Christopher Lawson, a local activist prominent in the
community promoting medical marijuana showed why weed does not have a
place on campus by inviting students to smoke a joint.

One key facet that they have yet to explore relates to the
pharmaceutical industry. Once the substance is legalized,
pharmaceutical companies will undoubtedly race to find new, more
efficient and medically applicable ways to intake the drug in order to
take advantage of this, as history proves, formerly illegal
multi-billion-dollar industry.

In regards to the legalization affecting employees or students, it is
already against the Code of Conduct to come inebriated or under the
influence to work; the legalization, pertaining to the academia of the
university, will not deface the McMaster prestige. If anything, it may
bolster its standing as a research-intensive university as part of the
U15 group due to the increased flexibility for research for the
clinical and biological affects of the substance, proving that this
ban will only improve McMaster's reputation on a global and a national

The McMaster student body is not wrong to follow mainstream opinions.
It is natural to be swayed by the stances of the representative bodies
of the community. Cigarettes and the legalization of tobacco in Canada
was a prime example of this. And yet, here we are, trying to get rid
of all smoke on campus.

However, due to the lack of transparency of the chips on the table for
both the smoking ban and legalization policies, we can only resort to
form rudimentary viewpoints.

The McMaster Students Union in coordination with Hamilton Public
Health and McMaster's own interest groups aim to increase the
transparency in this controversial issue so that we can all have a
more informed and developed stance. Shrouded in technical jargon, a
clear message remains. Marijuana has no place at McMaster and we can
only trust that this is for the best.
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MAP posted-by: Matt