With the legalization of marijuana officially on the table, questions about what that means for the nation are cropping up quicker than dispensaries across Toronto. As politicians debate the issues, we’re left to ponder what’s to come…how and where will marijuana be sold? At what age can you purchase marijuana? And perhaps the most pressing and controversial question of all: how will this impact the nation’s youth?
When it comes to the rights and best interest of youth, there’s quite a bit of contention among the experts. While some emphasize the harms of use on cognitive development and mental health, others advocate for the reform of laws, arguing that the impact of criminalization on youth trajectories can be far worse than the impact of use itself. Perhaps the greatest stakeholder of all in this discussion is schools. Schools, whose main responsibility it is to protect and educate youth, will soon face increasing pressure to respond to new laws about marijuana use, policies, and education in schools. But what will legalization mean for students, teachers, and the school community? Educators are left with a slew of questions such as:
- What policies should schools have in place regarding use?
- How should marijuana be discussed and taught in classrooms?
- How far from school grounds will dispensaries be allowed to stand?
- What are youth’s legal rights surrounding marijuana use?
- What are the legal ramifications of illegal use or distribution?
- What might the potential benefits of legalization be for schools?
Soon there will be inevitable changes to the national landscape, and schools will be expected to adapt. They’ll need the knowledge and tools to respond to issues of illegal distribution, medicinal use, illegal use, and more. They’ll need to evaluate current policies and practices and make the adjustments they deem fit. They’ll need to reconsider the way they educate youth about the topic, while evaluating their capacity to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all students.
We here at the Canadian Safe School Network realize how important it is to be prepared, and that’s why CSSN will be hosting, “The M Word: Exploring Perspectives on the Legalization of Marijuana and Safe Schools” in both Vancouver on October 5th and Toronto on October 6th. Join us as experts from across sectors, including government, law enforcement, education, the cannabis industry and mental health, offer their perspectives on the impending legalization of marijuana and how it will affect students, educators, and safe school communities at large. We’ll provide insights, answer questions, and promote discussion so that educators may feel better prepared for what’s to come.
To learn more about the Toronto conference or to register click here.
We look forward to seeing you there!