Medical marijuana in public places

For years now it’s been illegal for people to light up in many public places across the province. But that’s about to change, as long as the person smoking has a doctor’s note. This means medical marijuana users can light up in restaurants, at work or on playgrounds.As long as they have a doctor’s prescription they’re exempt from the laws that prohibit cigarette smoking and e-cigarette vaping in most public places in Ontario. Dipika Damerla, the Associate Health Minister says these new regulations are about letting people who are very sick or in a lot of pain take their prescribed medication when they need to. But she says employers or restaurant owners could still ban them from smoking on the premises. “The employers and owners and proprietors have the ability to override this exemption.”Back in 2013 a Burlington bar owner won a lengthy and expensive legal battle against the Ontario Human Rights Commission after he told a former customer, who was a medical marijuana user, -that he couldn’t smoke on the patio. That customer claimed his rights had been violated. The human rights commission eventually dismissed the case. Theresa Kozak, the manager at The Tweed Patient Support Centre in Hamilton, says these new regulations are important. “The significance is pretty huge. It is putting cannibus on a separate level and giving it recognition as a medicine for what it is. It is basically saying that patients can medicate when and how they need to in public and not under the same restrictions as smoking cigarettes.”The Canadian Cancer Society warns that “people exposed to second-hand marijuana smoke may have many of the same health problems as people exposed to cigarette smoke, including an increased risk of cancer.” read more