Beyond the barriers: Marking the place for marijuana use at a Canadian high school

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This ethnographic study aimed at developing a richer understanding of how youth, their schools, and the communities in which they are emplaced coincide to generate a set of local social processes that affect marijuana use. We trace the interplay between high school staff and students with regards to marijuana use in the proximity of a local high school and the shifting geographies of use in this setting. Although marijuana use was a concern for teachers and administrators, they seemed unaware of how their strategies tended to reinforce use among teens. In and around the physical space of the school, social spaces for marijuana use were co-created by the actions of students and teachers. Groups of students would leave the school and smoke marijuana in school time. Students were aware that they needed to keep their use discrete. Teachers and staff unintentionally conveyed the message that marijuana use was acceptable provided it did not take place on school property. Students and staff thus enacted and reinforced the barriers to open communication about marijuana use. The teen appropriation of space to use marijuana can be interpreted as a counter-positioning of youth and adult norms.

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Journal Article

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