Jacob Zinn :: journalist + photographer

KSA rollies a doob-ious affair

Kwantlen ChronicleOnline Edition: November 5, 2009

The Kwantlen Student Association sells cigarette papers, but don’t intend them to be used solely for tobacco. (Jacob Zinn)

The Kwantlen Student Association maintains that selling Zig-Zags (paper used to roll tobacco cigarettes and joints) does not conflict with the university promoting anti-smoking products under the student health plan.

Though selling cigarette paper seems to contradict a recent on-campus anti-smoking event, the KSA said it has to provide items for both smokers and non-smokers.

“If people want to smoke medical marijuana, they can,” said Nathan Griffiths, KSA Director of Operations. “If they want to quit smoking tobacco, we’ve provided products to try and have them stop.”

Griffiths said he doesn’t feel the paper sales are hypocritical in light of the anti-smoking products.

“Currently, we also offer insulin on our health plan, but we still sell Coke, other junk food within the cafe, so I don’t see much of a difference,” said Griffiths.

Concerns of inconsistency on the subject came up during initial KSA talks about supplying Zig-Zag rolling papers.

“We discussed this when we started doing the rolling papers,” said John O’Brian of the Cloverdale KSA. “It was a plebiscite about the legalization of marijuana and it was sort of a close margin.”

O’Brian said he thought the school would never sell rolling papers, but student demand prompted the sale of Zig-Zags. In the October 2003 plebiscite, out of 784 students who voted, 470 supported the decriminalization of marijuana.

The papers were introduced to the Cloverdale campus in March of this year and then at other campuses.

The dividing line between Zig-Zag papers and anti-smoking products for cigarette smokers comes from the KSA’s concept of not using the cigarette paper to roll cigarettes.

“We don’t intend for them to be used to smoke tobacco,” said O’Brian.

The KSA hasn’t formally taken a stance on the decriminalization of marijuana, but it does support medical marijuana. Those who smoke marijuana recreationally are not restricted from buying Zig-Zags.

Dr. Balbir Gurm of Kwantlen’s nursing program said she understands the KSA has to support services for smokers, but hopes it doesn’t send mixed messages.

“I think what they have to do is keep the message clear that yes, we want to support people who want to quit smoking, but we can’t turn our backs on those of our members to choose to smoke,” said Gurm.

The sales haven’t really caught on; to date, Cloverdale has sold 32 packs and Surrey has sold 25, with 100 papers to a pack. The Richmond campus hasn’t sold many Zig-Zags and sales at the Langley campus were discontinued after none were sold.

Because sales have been slow, original plans to add the KSA logo to the papers have been scrapped.

“We were testing to see if they were going to be popular enough,” said O’Brian, who added that even if the papers sold well, the local printing company they were in talks with no longer puts logos on cigarette papers.

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