What is Cannabis?
Cannabis products (aka weed, bud, pot, Kush) come from the dried leaves and flowering tops of the cannabis plant. Cannabis can be brown, grey, or green in colour. Cannabis is consumed recreationally for its mind-altering effects; there are also many medical uses for the drug.
What are the Forms of Cannabis?
|Dried Herbal Material (“Marijuana”)||Smoked in joints, pipes, blunts, bongs, hookahs or one-hitters|
|Oil (“Hash or Cannabis Oil”)||Used with vaporizers|
|Edibles (“butter”)||Ingested in food and drinks|
What will legalization of cannabis allow?
On April 13, 2017, the federal government tabled the Cannabis Act (Bill C-45) and An Act to Amend the Criminal Code (Bill C-46). The proposed Cannabis Act will create a strict legal framework for controlling the production, distribution, sale and possession of cannabis. As proposed, Bill C-46 creates new offences for impaired driving (impaired by cannabis) and strengthens the Criminal Code with regards to impaired driving for alcohol, cannabis and other drugs. The federal government plans to have the two acts come into force in October 2018.
While the federal government’s Cannabis Act sets 18 as the minimum age for consuming legally obtained cannabis the Province of Ontario has announced that it will be setting the minimum age at 19 years old.
Driving while impaired by any drug (even if prescribed by a doctor) is an offence under the Criminal Code of Canada and those convicted face the same penalties as those impaired by alcohol. Drivers need to be aware that police are able to detect drivers who are high on cannabis.
Storefront operations selling cannabis products are not licensed by Health Canada and are illegal under the current law.
Medical vs Recreational Use - What is the difference?
Medical Use of Cannabis
Medical cannabis is typically prescribed by a regulated health professional to help manage symptoms associated with a medical diagnosis. For information on specific uses of medical cannabis, visit Health Canada's website.
Recreational Use of Cannabis
Recreational cannabis is cannabis that is not prescribed by a regulated health professional.
Can Medical Cannabis be used by students while at Mohawk College?
If a student identifies that they have been prescribed cannabis for medical purposes, the student must:
- be in possession of a valid medical document;
- abide by legal limits for cannabis possession;
- ensure cannabis is obtained through a licensed producer; and
- meet with Accessible Learning Services (ALS) to develop a Confidential Academic Accommodation Plan (CAAP).
Accessible Learning Services Protocol for Students
- Student submits completed ALS intake form and disability documentation (MDF, Disability Verification Form)
- Student is scheduled to meet with an Accessibility Counsellor
- Accessibility Counsellor and student collaborates in development of Confidential Academic Accommodation Plan (CAAP). (Example of an accommodation that potentially applies in testing context: breaks for medical reasons; classroom setting: student may leave class for short periods of time).
- Accessibility Counsellor supports student with emailing of CAAP to faculty, if needed.
- Accessibility Counsellor advises student to visit security services for a review of their process.
- Security Services requests a copy of student’s medicinal marijuana license and retains a copy on file.
- Security Services explains to student(s) where they are permitted to use medicinal marijuana on campus, if needed.
Who can I legally obtain cannabis from?
Only licensed retailers are authorized to legally sell cannabis. It is illegal for one adult to sell cannabis to another. Anyone found selling marijuana without a license will face fines and possible imprisonment.
What are the Effects of Cannabis that I should be concerned about?
Long Term Effects
- Cognitive effects
- Anxiety and depression
- Increased risk of psychotic disorders (schizophrenia)
- Potential for Addiction/Cannabis Use Disorder
Short Term Effects
- Problems with learning and memory
- Executive functioning (attention, planning, abstract reasoning, decision making)
- Altered time and spatial perception
- Poor coordination and balance
- Affects academic performance
- Affects judgment
- Affects driving skills
- Withdrawal includes anxiety, insomnia, and irritability
Can I use recreational cannabis and come to class?
Mohawk is committed to maintaining a safe and respective learning and working environment. Every member of the Mohawk community is expected to conduct themselves in a way that is not harmful, threatening or abusive to others. Any behaviour that is contrary to this will not be tolerated and disciplinary may be taken. Students are expected to familiarize themselves with Mohawk’s Student Behaviour Policy (PDF, 2.7mb) and conduct themselves accordingly.
How can I talk to somebody about cannabis?
Avoid using the “just say no” prevention approach. Instead, provide unbiased, evidence-based information on both the positives and negatives of cannabis use. When providing information, make sure that the information is relevant and realistic.
How do I know if someone is under the influence of cannabis?
Every individuals is different and may react to controlled substances such as alcohol or cannabis differently. If someone is behaving in a manner that is harmful, threatening or abusive to others it should be reported to Mohawk College Security. Please refer to Mohawk’s Student Behaviour Policy (PDF, 2.7mb) for more details.
What should faculty do if they have students under the influence in class?
Mohawk is committed to maintaining a safe and respective learning and working environment. Every member of the Mohawk community is expected to conduct themselves in a way that is not harmful, threatening or abusive to others. Any behaviour that is contrary to this will not be tolerated and disciplinary may be taken. Faculty and staff should refer to Mohawk’s Student Behaviour Policy (PDF, 2.7mb) for more information and details on how to report incidents to security.
Where can I refer a student who may need help?
- ConnexOntario, Drug and Alcohol Helpline (1-800-565-8603 or www.drugandalcoholhelpline.ca) provides free and confidential health services information for people experiencing problems with alcohol, drugs, mental health or gambling.
- Good2talk (1-866-925-5454 or www.good2talk.ca) provides free, confidential and anonymous helpline (24/7/365) for post-secondary students (17-25) in Ontario that provides professional counselling and information and referrals on mental health, addictions and wellbeing.
- Students can request a meeting with a counsellor or a member of the Student Rights and Responsibilities Office.
- Connect with a Wellness4U health promotion nurse for information.
Where can I refer a staff who may need help?
- Employee Family Assistance Plan (EFAP)
- The Drug & Alcohol Helpline (1-800-565-8603)
- Connect with a Wellness4U health promotion nurse for information or a presentation in class.
Where can I get more information?
- Cannabis on Campus - Mohawk College Resource (775.8kb)
- Safe Cannabis Use - Mohawk College Resource (932.5kb)
- Cycles is a film-based resource that encourages teens to talk openly and honestly about decision making and cannabis use
- The Sweet Life Road Show is a hands-on interactive experience that raises teens’ awareness about the deadliest road risks, and shows them simple strategies to stay safe. One of the topics of focus is “Why marijuana and driving don’t mix”
- City of Hamilton - Cannabis (Marijuana)
- Government of Ontario - Cannabis Legalization
- Health Effects of Cannabis - Government of Canada (271.5kb)
- CAMH Canada's Lower Risk Guidelines (Cannabis)
- Canada's Lower Risk Cannabis Use Guidelines (LRCUG) (809.9kb)
- The Blunt Truth: Useful Tips About Safer Ways to Use Cannabis (1.2mb)
- Cannabis Information Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addictions (341.1kb)
- Do You Know.. About Cannabis - Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (163.2kb)
- Effects of Cannabis Use During Adolescence 2015 Report - CCSA (3.6mb)
- Educate yourself on the difference between CBD and THC cannabis products via the Wellness4U website.
Email us at wellness4u [at] mohawkcollege.ca and we would be happy to answer any questions that you might have that are not addressed in the above FAQ!