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Ontario Government Flip-Flops On Letting Medical Marijuana Users Vape in Public

It's now pretty much going to be banned everywhere.

by Manisha Krishnan
Mar 10 2016, 3:40pm

Photo via Flickr user Dank Depot

The Ontario government has completely abandoned its former plan to help medical marijuana users vape in public.

The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care plans to announce a new set of rules Thursday effectively banning patients from smoking up anywhere indoors, at workplaces, and in some outdoor public spaces, according to the Toronto Star.

In November the Liberals announced patients would be able to vape wherever they needed, including inside restaurants, on the job, in movie theatres, and at playgrounds. But public backlash forced them to put that plan on hold almost immediately, while they reconsidered regulations around vaping. They appear to have arrived at a stance that's 180 very disturbing degrees from where they started.

The move is reportedly to ensure Ontarians are protected from second-hand smoke.

By law, you can't smoke cigarettes in enclosed workplaces, enclosed public spaces and other designated outdoor places in Ontario. Restaurant and bar patios are also banned as is smoking in cars carrying passengers under the age of 16. As of January, the government placed similar restrictions on e-cigarette use. It seems smoking medical marijuana will now fall under the same category.

Jonathan Zaid, founder and executive director of Canadians for Fair Access to Medical Marijuana, told VICE he's disappointed in government's flip-flop.

"It's within the human rights of medical marijuana users to be able to use their medicine in places like work, especially in emergencies... and I think the government has completely overlooked that right."

But he said it's too early to say whether or not a formal human rights complaint challenging the legislation is in order.

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