Abe Gray uses a cannabis vaporiser on the Union Lawn on
Monday. Photo by ODT.
The University of Otago's smoke-free policy has come into
force, but a cannabis reform group has found a way around the
The ban came into force on New Year's Day, but yesterday was
the first real test of the new policy, with staff and
students back on campus for the start of summer school.
Otago Norml spokesman Abe Gray said the group, which runs
''4:20'' protests on the University Union lawn where members
smoke cannabis, said it would continue to run protests, but
consume cannabis using vaporisers, which were not covered by
Mr Gray said if the university cracked down on the group and
forced it off campus it would continue the protests in
Cumberland St, outside the university's new visitor's centre.
''If they want us to be more prominent and right where the
coaches pull up, then we can do that, but we would rather
stay where we are.''
Co-chairwoman of the university's smoke-free campus
implementation working group Prof Janet Hoek said the policy
was largely aimed at tobacco smokers.
She confirmed the smoke-free policy did not include
vaporisers or ''e-cigarettes'' but that could change, based
on new research or Government policy, when the smoke-free
rule was reviewed.
''Vaporising cannabis is actually against the law, so to some
extent we don't need a policy which incorporates that,'' Prof
Given the long lead-in time, she did not think many would be
caught flouting the new rules.
For those who were caught, the university would be taking an
educational approach at first, but after that the
university's usual disciplinary measures would be used.
No-one was seen breaking the new policy when the Otago
Daily Times visited the campus yesterday. ''No smoking''
signs were visible at entrances to the campus and areas which
used to be frequented by smokers.
One student smoker who left the campus to smoke and declined
to be named, said the university was taking away people's
''freedom'' and should have at least included a designated