Cannabis FAQ for Students and Employees

 


What is cannabis?

Cannabis products (also known as 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?

Form Application
Dried Herbal Material (“Marijuana”) Smoked in joints, pipes, blunts, bongs, hookahs or one-hitters
Oil (“Hash or Cannabis Oil”) Used with vaporizers
Concentrates (“Shatter”) Dabbed
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.
 

What about possessing cannabis on campus? 

It is each person’s responsibility to ensure safe substance use on campus. As a community of students, we must refrain from engaging in behaviour that causes or may cause a negative impact on one another.

  • No smoking or vaping in any indoor or outdoor Mohawk College locations
  • Do not use or possess if under the age of 19
  • May possess 30 grams of dried cannabis in a sealed container
  • Only cannabis legally purchased from authorized locations allowed
     

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.

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.

 

Where can I legally obtain cannabis?

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.
 

How can I use cannabis safely?

Using cannabis can increase concerns of psychosis or mental health issues, including anxiety. Cannabis use can delay brain development in youth until the age of 22.

  • Using cannabis on a full stomach can moderate the intensity of negative effects, such as anxiety, nausea, vomiting, and fainting
  • When smoking, take shallow puffs rather than large inhales, and don’t hold your breath
  • 95% of the THC is absorbed in your lungs within a few seconds. Take your time!
    • If ingesting cannabis: Wait at least one hour to feel the effects before taking more.
    • If inhaling cannabis: Wait at least ten minutes to feel the effects.
  • Vaporizers are the safest method of inhaling cannabis, followed by joints. Bongs are the least safe and cause greater inhalation of toxins.
  • Remember, you are a student first. If your use of cannabis or other substances is interfering with your academics, or has become a method to cope with stress or difficulties, please reach out to someone for support. 

 

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

 

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.
 

What are College support and resources?

You may contact any of the below on or off campus resources about support or resources.

On-campus resources

Security

  • On campus: C-103
  • Email: security [at] mohawcollege.ca
  • Phone: 905-575-2003
     

Student Rights and Responsibilities

  • On campus: C-102 (The Square)
  • Email: studentissues [at] mohawkcollege.ca
  • Phone: 905-575-2181
     

Counselling Services

  • On campus: C-102 (The Square)
  • Email: counselling [at] mohawkcollege.ca
  • Phone: 905-575-2211

Off-campus resources

  • Good2Talk
    1-866-925-5454
  • CAMH
  • The Drug and Alcohol Helpline
    1-800-565-8603 (toll free)

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?

  • 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?


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!