Jon Liedtke – Guest Column – Windsor Star
“These proposals are arbitrary, discriminatory, and serve only to intentionally harm and forcibly segregate some of the most vulnerable and protected members of society.”Jon Liedtke, co-owner of Higher Limits – Canada’s largest & Windsor’s first – cannabis lounge writes as a guest contributor to the Windsor Star about new Ontario government smoking legislation which targets medical cannabis users
The Liberals in Queen’s Park have gone too far with their proposal to place medical marijuana in the Smoke Free Ontario Act and to ban combustion and vaping everywhere cigarettes and e-cigarettes are banned.
This is medication — nothing more and nothing less. The government isn’t planning to prohibit or restrict illegal cannabis, only medical marijuana.
Legislatively prohibiting people from taking their medication has no place in a 2016 legislative agenda. Medical rights need to be protected and fought for, especially in the face of discrimination such as this government is presenting.
Specifically, no smoking rules would be expanded to apply to medical marijuana, medical marijuana vaporizers would be reclassified as e-cigarettes and their use banned wherever smoking and e-cigarettes are banned, and the sale of medical marijuana vaporizers to those under 19 would be banned.
These proposals are arbitrary, discriminatory, and serve only to intentionally harm and forcibly segregate some of the most vulnerable and protected members of society.
In a span of just a few months, the province went from publicly stating medical marijuana users’ rights would be extended to allow for vaping in all public spaces for medical purposes, to a total and outright prohibition.
At a time when the federal government is planning to end prohibition, the province has started its own — except instead of targeting the black market, by targeting legal and prescribed medical users. It’s absurd.
The Liberals present this as an issue of balancing medical rights against societal rights, which is intentionally misleading. This is simply about limiting medical rights.
It’s presented as if currently medical marijuana users are lighting up joints and bongs in movie theatres, restaurants, and bars, and that there’s an urgent need to stop this. This is not the case.
Medical marijuana users don’t want confrontation and avoid causing issues with establishments and authority. Legislatively limiting medical rights doesn’t fix a non-issue and forcing medical marijuana users to leave public spaces to medicate is legislated segregation.
If a medical marijuana user needs to medicate publicly, it is cruel to arbitrarily prohibit this. Further, cannibis lounges serve as a place where medical marijuana users can congregate in private and safety.
There are many medical marijuana users who will be unable to take their medication in the comfort of their own home due to this legislation, including: students who live in dorms, social housing residents, and hospital patients confined to their rooms.
Cannabis lounges provide a safe and comfortable space to discuss meaningful issues about cannabis, and provide support and comfort to those seeking it.
Many new medical marijuana users have never seen their medication before, let alone consumed it. Most receive a prescription, order from a Health Canada approved medical marijuana producer via website, and a package arrives at their front door.
The proposed legislation intentionally targets a vulnerable and protected group for discrimination without justification whatsoever.
Jon Liedtke is the co-owner of Higher Limits cannabis lounge in Windsor.