The Canadian University of British Columbia (UBC) will now allow smoking cannabis on campus after the country’s recent move to legalise the substance, reported CBC News.
In the wake of this change, several colleges have had to reconsider their smoking policies but UBC is the first to allow marijuana consumption. 65 out of 260 university-college campuses have outlawed smoking and vaping, or plan to, according to a report by the Canadian Cancer Society.
The university’s Vancouver campus has several designated areas where people can smoke while the Okanagan campus has smoking gazebos.
“We’re a university, so we’re really focused on evidence-based decision-making,” said Hubert Lai, UBC’s university counsel. “The research is suggesting that, actually, behaviour by individuals is not going to change in a material way after decriminalization occurs.”
The university prohibits any kind of smoking in the ‘health precinct’ which consists of hospital and other medical buildings. It is also forbidden indoors and within eight metres of any doorway on campus.
“One of the effects that people have observed — that researchers have observed — is that when you criminalize activity that people are engaging in any way, all you do is drive the behaviour underground,” said Lai.
“That could create unexpected consequences, so we don’t want to make poor policy decisions in that way.”
Grace Tadrous, who’s in her fifth year of a kinesiology degree, said smoking on campus is generally fine, but pot may cross the line.
“I think [cannabis] should be done in a little bit more private areas, not just around where you’re trying to learn and have an educational environment,” she said.
This story originally appeared on CBC News.