Show UR papers? Change UR thinking.


author: j.d. bell | contributor

Credit: DonkeyHotey and Colette Cassinelli via flickr

“Medical cannabis users are expected to “Show UR Papers” to Campus Security upon request. If this sounds appropriate to you, don’t worry. Nobody’s perfect.”

Medical cannabis users are expected to “Show UR Papers” to Campus Security upon request. If this sounds appropriate to you, don’t worry. Nobody’s perfect.

“Show UR Papers” is the University of Regina’s de facto carding policy targeting medical cannabis users on our campus. It’s a policy which treats all use as potentially criminal, a policy that forces medical users to suffer the indignity of being treated like a criminal, and it’s a policy we must demand to be changed immediately.

Medical users are required to show proof of prescription or they will be forced to leave campus for the day. If such a student drove to campus, they will be forced to choose between abandoning their car for the day; picking up their car later and risk being caught, which would be non-academic misconduct; or risk driving away knowing security will be compelled to report suspected impaired driving. This is the kind of hostile environment campus security’s “Show UR Papers” policy creates for medical cannabis users, and it is why I will be starting the UR Compassion Club and the U of R chapter of Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy [UR CSSDP] to advocate on issues of importance to the medical user community and to disseminate evidence-based educational resources, respectively.

The most glaring absurdity of this “Show UR Papers” policy is it places the burden of proof on the accused rather than starting with the presumption of innocence. Cannabis use no longer guarantees criminality. Therefore, the university must take the initiative on developing a progressive and constitutional Cannabis Policy that recognizes the evolving rights of medical users’ right to reasonable access.

Allard versus Canada was a 2016 case that deemed the Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR) unconstitutional pursuant to section 7 of The Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Basically, the federal government was unreasonably and unconstitutionally obstructing medical users’ access by taking away a right that was neither theirs to take, nor grant in the first place.

Following the past mistakes of our government, the university will express a desire to see medical cannabis users register with the Centre for Student Accessibility. This is a desire we must resist at all costs.

An argument will be made suggesting if medical cannabis users do not want to be forced or coerced into “Showing UR Papers,” the U of R may then “grant medical users the right” to medical access on U of R property predicated on the condition of first registering with the Centre for Student Accessibility. The reason we must resist this argument is because that right is neither the university’s to grant, nor to take away, as we’ve previously seen.

The ruling in Allard vs. Canada gave the government six months to change the regulations in such a way that medical users’ Charter right to reasonable access was no longer being infringed upon, which produced the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations [ACMPR]. In September of 2016, medical users’ rights were recognized to such a degree Health Canada was quoted by the Vancouver Sun as stating, “The new regulations do not require individuals to notify or seek the consent of their landlords, as such requirements would likely infringe on their right to reasonable access to cannabis for medical purposes.”

The statement from Health Canada was significant because medical users’ right to access was recognized by Health Canada as being above the landlord’s right to know the tenant intended to grow cannabis on constitutional grounds. The university has the opportunity to take the initiative in creating a Cannabis Policy placing medical users’ rights above the university’s desire monitor them.

“Show UR Papers” is the perfect example of why now is the time to develop a Cannabis Policy focused on protecting medical users, and with the sole intent to protect medical users rights to reasonable access. We need a cannabis policy allowing cannabis use in any and all areas where non-ceremonial tobacco is permitted. We need a cannabis policy that requires security to assume a person’s innocence in order to protect medical users from the unreasonable expectation of forfeiting their rights. The university so far has not been able to do this, so it seems appropriate for the university to, in good faith, consult and, more importantly, collaborate with members of the medical cannabis community on developing a cannabis policy.

To meet the current opportunity we face, I am calling on all students who support the goals of the UR Compassion Club and UR CSSDP to sign up for each club to make these groups official so we can get quickly get started on the important work that needs to be done. You don’t have to be a medical user to join, and any students who would like to contribute their time to these causes or would like to simply sign up as a member to show your support, email and there will be a position for everybody to match your skills and desired involvement.

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