Pot Legalization: What Will it Mean for Schools?

Article by Nicole Ireland, CBC News

Codes of conduct ensure there's no need to fear a generation of stoned students, educators say. 'A lot of kids today are fairly knowledgeable about alcohol and tobacco and yet ... they entertain a number of myths about marijuana,' says Art Steinmann, manager of the substance use health promotion program with the Vancouver School Board.

The revelation that the federal government will legalize marijuana in Canada by July 1, 2018, has sparked a flurry of speculation about possible implications.

But those imagining a disastrous Canada-wide increase in high school students showing up stoned in classrooms need not worry, school boards say.

“Even if it may be decriminalized and even if a student may be of the age in which he or she can purchase marijuana, our code of conduct is still in place,” said John Bowyer, superintendent of safety and security for the Durham District School Board, east of Toronto.

“What we expect is that our students come to school prepared to learn and … in a state of mind that they can be safe and they can learn appropriately.”

Earlier this week, CBC News learned that Ottawa would set a minimum age of 18 to buy pot, but the provinces will be able to increase that age. How marijuana is distributed and sold will also be up to each provincial government.

The Durham board is waiting to get that kind of specific information from the Ontario government, Bowyer said. But in general terms, he sees potential marijuana policies as similar to those governing alcohol use.

“Right now alcohol is legal to be purchased by someone who is 19 years of age or older [in Ontario], but we do expect that students do not show up to the school in possession of alcohol or having consumed alcohol.”

Read full article here.

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