Amidst the growing popularity of vaping, medical cannabis, and other tobacco products, Ontario’s government is scrambling to batten down the hatch. In one response, Queen’s Park has moved to outlaw the smoking and vaping of medical cannabis products in enclosed public spaces, workplaces, and many outdoor areas as well.
A government official said that the new laws seek “to strengthen . . . smoking laws to better protect people from secondhand smoke, whether from a tobacco product or medical marijuana.”
The government came under fire after it put into place laws in November that allowed smoking and vaping medical marijuana in public spaces where smoking was otherwise banned. Such spaces included restaurants, movie theaters, and kids’ playgrounds.
Associate health minister Dipika Damerla was forced to reconsider the law after push-back from citizens. “We will consider this feedback, look at it very carefully and see what we need to do,” she said last fall.
Canadians for Fair Access to Medical Marijuana, a group that represents medical cannabis patients, had applauded the initial law, and released a statement calling it an “important milestone in the recognition of the legitimacy of the use of cannabis as a medicine.”
The Canadian Cancer Society, however, argues that secondhand cannabis smoke can cause similar problems to that from tobacco.
In response, Damerla has released new amendments that go quite far. The new rules treat e-cigarettes exactly like normal ones: using them in cars and trucks when children under the age of 16 are present will be illegal.
The law also bans vaping on “restaurant and bar patios, schoolyards, playgrounds, condominium common areas, stadiums, and hospital grounds,” according to the Toronto Star.
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