As of October 17, 2018, cannabis use is legal in Canada - but not for most of the students in Northwest School Division.
Why? Because in Saskatchewan, legalization applies to people 19 years of age and older. For people younger than 19 years of age, possessing or consuming cannabis or cannabis products unless medically prescribed is still illegal.
What does this mean for schools?
Northwest School Division policy prohibits the use of cannabis, tobacco and related products in and on school division buildings and properties by students, staff, visitors, community partners and others. This policy is meant to provide safe, comfortable and healthy environments for everyone.
Schools will manage medically prescribed cannabis in the same manner they manage other prescription drugs. However, even with a prescription, cannabis may not be smoked on school division property.
What does this mean for students?
Northwest School Division policy prohibits student use of alcohol, cannabis and other drugs regardless of age:
- Students are not allowed to be in possession of cannabis, alcohol or other drugs while at school or school-sponsored events.
- Students are not allowed to be at school or school sponsored events while under the influence of cannabis, alcohol or other drugs.
- Students are not allowed to buy, sell or supply cannabis, alcohol or other drugs while at school or school-sponsored events.
- In addition, each school develops and communicates student behaviour expectations that are outlined in the school handbook and managed by school administrators and staff.
What if a student is suspected of or is found to be under the influence while at school?
The principal will contact the parents or guardians of any student the principal has reasonable grounds to consider might be under the influence of alcohol, cannabis or other drugs to arrange for the student to safely leave the premises. This is to safeguard that student and any others they may interact with.
The school will make every effort to cooperate with parents, guardians, health care providers, community resources and law enforcement to address problems associated with alcohol, cannabis and other drug use.
This means the school might:
- Refer the student to drug awareness programs.
- Refer the student to counseling agencies, services and/or personnel.
- Refer the student to support or rehabilitation programs.
Students who choose to disclose an alcohol or other drug related problem to a member of staff will be directed to an agency or program to help them address the issue. The staff member will inform the principal of the disclosure so that the principal can ensure the student is appropriately directed for assistance.
Response to incidents will vary depending on the circumstances, but could include disciplinary measures. In all cases, discipline is considered to be part of the teaching and learning process and stresses restitution and correction rather than punishment.
How is the school division addressing cannabis legalization?
Schools regularly provide educational programming focused on healthy lifestyles to discourage the use of alcohol, cannabis and other drugs through classroom instruction, extra-curricular programs and special presentations and events. As educators, we want to teach students to make good decisions so that they are safe and healthy. As partners in education, we are committed to providing students with the opportunity to grow in a healthy environment enabling them to achieve educational success.
We believe that preventing cannabis use among youth and promoting healthy decision-making and student safety is an integral part of education and we are committed to supporting safe and healthy lifestyles in our schools.
Where can I find out more about cannabis use and how cannabis legalization affects my child and the school?
Your school administrator and the Northwest School Division administration team are great resources if you have further questions on the consequences of cannabis use at school.
There are also a number of great resources online:
NWSD will continue to be guided by the following procedures and resources:
This information is available in a PDF handout also:
NWSD Cannabis Fact Sheet