McGill students can now brag to their friends at UBC about a new top-ten ranking, but its not one that university administrators will be talking about.
In the October issue of cannabis magazine High Times, McGill has been ranked as the number eight counterculture school in North America. This year marks the first time any Canadian school has made the list.
The rankings are based on the level of student activism concerning marijuana law reform. The number one position is awarded to the school with the strongest student activism.McGill was awarded the number eight position for having the most active student drug-policy-reform group in Canada. The first official Canadian chapter of Students for Sensible Drug Policy was brought about by the National Reefer Association of McGill. McGill SSDP is now working toward forming a nationwide Canada SSDP organization.
Other schools on the list include University of Missouri-Columbia in third place, University of California-Santa Monica in second and University of Maryland taking first place.
In previous years, the criteria for the list was very different. Last year the ranking was of the “Top Ten Cannabis Colleges” which was based on what were believed to be the “stoniest schools.”
The change of focus from student usage to activism is what put McGill on the list this year according to Associate Publisher Rick Cusick.
According to Cusick, High Times, which has been publishing since 1974, is the only marijuana-themed magazine produced in the U.S.
Featuring articles on such topics as how to start your own closet garden and the connection between potheads and piercings, the magazine began ranking schools four years ago. They have received nothing but positive feedback about the list.
“People are ecstatic about activism and the fact that we’re talking about it,” Cusick said.
But not everyone at McGill feels the same way about the new status of the school in the counterculture world.
“This is so ridiculous,” Joshua Harris, U2 History said, “it makes us sound like a bunch of stoners when we’re actually all so busy studying that we don’t have time to get high.”
Others see the school’s student activism as a product of the city surroundings.
“I guess it makes sense. I mean, we’re in the middle of Montreal where I pass about five people smoking a joint on the sidewalk on my way to school. It seems like everyone is really cool about it here,” said U0 student Samantha Malonis.
McGill University Relations Officer Lisa Van Dusen declined to comment.