Canadian teen permitted to toke on campus helps set precedent for real reform


The teenage years are an awkward time for everybody. High school can be especially tough, just trying to fit in, particularly if you have any sort of disability. 15-year-old Noah Kirkman, a 10th-grade student at Western Canada High School knows about these pressures all too well, growing up with attention-deficit disorder and Tourette syndrome.
While he is far from the first high school student to have to deal with such issues, he appears to be one of the first students to have been granted permission by his school to use medical marijuana, while on campus, to treat his ailments. That’s right, three times a day the young man walks right past the Principal’s office, and into the Vice Principal’s office for a quick rip, or two or three, off of his handheld herbal vaporizer.

Before school, at lunch, and after school, Kirkman is able to gratefully pass up ineffective prescription pills in favor of inoffensive vaporized cannabis, which he says, “doesn’t have any withdrawal effects and I can’t (overdose) on it.”
“It helps me keep calm, it helps me keep focused,” he added in his interview with the Metro in Calgary.
Kirkman has been a licensed medical marijuana patient since September, and he and his mother immediately approached the local Calgary school board to try to determine how he could legally and discreetly get his head right a few times a day while on campus. Apparently, “hotboxing the Veep’s office” was the best plan.
Kirkman was cool with puffing on his vaporizer out in front of the school, but cold Canadian weather and fear of controversy led school officials to invite him inside the administrator’s office. He doesn’t see what all the fuss is about, saying, “Usually, I’m not that discreet about it. My friends are very accepting of it, I’ve dealt with no discrimination or anything like that.”
That is certainly no shocker, that his friends think that him seshing on kush three times a day while they stand in line for juice cups and taco snacks is cool. Marijuana use among high school aged American kids continues to rise, and the trend only goes…ahem…higher when you look at Canadian teens. Still, though, Kirkman’s is the only case we could find where a teenager has been permitted to use medical marijuana on campus, in any country.
Back in the U.S., even for adult college students, aged 18 and up, on campus marijuana use – for any purpose – is strictly prohibited, more often than not. Any school that receives any federal funding is forced to respect the fact that marijuana is still a Schedule I controlled substance on the federal level, or risk losing much needed federal funding.
Signed into law in 1990, the Clery Act requires all colleges and universities that get any form of federal aid keep, and disclose to the feds, detailed records of all crimes committed on or near their campuses – including the buying and selling of crappy dorm-room dimebags.
In most cases, the best you can hope for is that your school allows you to at least carry your meds on you at all times. Unfortunately, the more common route is to completely ban any and all marijuana possession anywhere on school grounds – even for students required to spend their first year living on campus.
This ridiculous dangling of federal funds in front of cash-strapped universities like a carrot on a stick is even happening on college campuses across Colorado, where in the 2012 election, more people voted to legalize limited amounts of weed for adults 21 and up than voted for Barack Obama, who trounced his opponent in the state.
The bravery displayed not just by Kirkman, but by the school board who is allowing him to make such history, might end up being the template eventually used to end the widespread cannabis prohibition on campuses at all levels of education, across the globe.
With luck, stories like Kirkman’s will continue to make headlines, simultaneously downplaying the fabricated threats of marijuana use, and further instilling its legitimacy as a true medicine in the mind of the general public.