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Letter to UVic Administration

By admin | September 29, 2011

Sept 21. 2011

To Whom It May Concern

We believe it is in the best interest of the University of Victoria
that the UVSS Hempology 101 Club be granted an exemption from the new
smoking policy for the club’s traditional weekly 4:20 gatherings at
Petch Fountains. The reasons the administration should consider
granting the exemption and avoid the referendum can be summarized
under the following headers:

3)Physical location
4)Future conflict


Established in 1995, the UVSS Hempology 101 Club has held Weds 4:20
meetings near the Petch Fountains since Sept 1998, until Campus
Security politely asked us to move on Sept 7, 2011 due to the new
smoking policy that does not allow smoking inside the ring road. This
was an obvious recognition of the weekly meetings and security made it
clear that the students had the right to gather to protest against the
federal cannabis laws but under direction of the administration said
it was more appropriate to do so by the SUB. We reluctantly agreed in
the hope democracy, freedom and peace would prevail.

This weekly tradition includes a call to gather in a circle, 42
seconds of silence for the victims of the drug war, sharing of
sacrament and a 420 cheer to end the event. These gatherings are
sacred to many students and a small handful of cannabis advocates.
During these special events students learn about the medical impacts
of using cannabis, the wide number of uses of hemp, current legal
decisions, political developments, and historical facts about the most
important plant on earth. Students also participate in annual
contests, a game-show, caroling and other activities. Each year during
student elections candidates are invited to speak and encourage everyone to vote.

The UVSS Hempology 101 Club has been growing in popularity every
year and has been the largest student club at the University of
Victoria for several years running. Since the smoking policy allows
for exemptions for traditional ceremonies, we believe the 4:20
gatherings of the UVSS Hempology 101 Club should be granted this


The new smoking police is clearly written for tobacco users in
reaction to scientific evidence that the second-hand effects of
tobacco smoke can cause serious lung damage. No such evidence exists
for the second-hand effects of cannabis. The potential negative
impacts of smoking cannabis are often greatly exaggerated, while the
benefits often underestimated.

Studies even show that due to marijuana’s ability to clear
the lungs of smog, pollutants, and cigarette smoke, it may
actually reduce your risk of emphysema, bronchitis, and lung
cancer. Smokers of cannabis have been shown to outlive non-
smokers in some areas by up to two years. Medium to heavy
tobacco smokers will live seven to ten years longer if they also
smoke marijuana.

Forcing cannabis consumers to smoke alongside tobacco smokers is not
only a form of discrimination but will possibly cause harm to people
with sensitive lungs who smoke herb but cannot stand cigarettes.
Science simply does not provide rationale for imposing the smoking
policy upon cannabis smoking.

Physical location

For those who would prefer to avoid the smell of cannabis smoke, the
best place for these gatherings is the Petch Fountains and the lawn in
the center of campus. The meetings have grown every year, reaching a
height of 380 students in late Sept 2010. The lawn by the SUB
Building is barely large enough to accommodate for the current size of
the club.

The noise of the road forces us to turn up the amplifier, adding to
the general noise level on campus. When left to ourselves it was easy
to adjust the volume for the number of students and to stay far away
from buildings. Students at the bus stop and in some residences will
be most affected.

Winter will be the most difficult time of year for us to hold our
meetings without being in people`s way and closer to a building, as
the group cannot gather on the grass when it is raining or we will
damage the lawn, getting clothes and buildings dirty. While we can
try to gather close together to keep away from students coming and
going from the SUB, we will be much more difficult for many to avoid
than when we were allowed at the Petch Fountains and anyone concerned
could swing a wide berth around us.

Future conflict

If the administration does not grant the UVSS Hempology 101 Club an
exemption for the tradition of 420 gathering every Weds at Petch
Fountains, then it is the intent of the club to force a referendum
upon the student body in March to see if the majority support the
groups right to gather there. If that referendum is successful, the
club would seek every means possible to move the meetings back to the
center of campus. If the majority do not consider the meetings part
of the traditional life of being a student at the University of
Victoria, then we will happily stay at the SUB.

Apparently in 2014 the smoking ban would apply to the entire campus
and moving the club would again be an issue, if it was not resolved
now. We would prefer to settle this matter this year and not have to
readdress the issue of our location again in the future.


Reason, freedom, democracy, tolerance, and cooperation are ideals
students attend university to study and should be ideals held by the
administration. Granting the UVSS Hempology 101 Club an exemption
from the smoking policy would be the most rationale, fair, and
prudent solution to the outlined problems.

James Parry. President, UVSS Hempology 101 Club
Leon `Ted`Smith, President, International Hempology 101 Society

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