The Windsor Independent
Jon Liedtke
April 15, 2016

One local business owner offers his thoughts on the Smoke Free Ontario Act and its assault on the rights of medical marijuana users

They’re smoking and drinking much stronger stuff in Toronto at Queen’s Park in contrast to the stuff we’ve got down here in Windsor. 

Or it at least seems that way when you read over their latest assault on medical marijuana users’ rights. 

How else do you explain reclassifying medical marijuana to place it in the Smoke Free Ontario Act and to refuse the combustion and vaping of it in all places cigarettes and e-cigarettes are banned. 

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 to a total prohibition. 

At a time when the federal government is ending prohibition, the province has started their own, except instead of targeting the nefarious black market, they’re targeting legal medical users. It’s absurd. 

To add insult to injury, all medical marijuana vaporizers even the Health Canada approved Volcano – are now defined as e-cigarettes and a parent who needs to purchase a medical marijuana vaporizer for a child under 19 needs to get a waivered exemption to allow for the purchase of an ‘e-cigarette’ for someone under the age of 19. 

It’s disgusting, deplorable and downright offensive that in 2016 the Liberals are limiting medical rights. 

And look, I get it, it’s a touchy issue – most people don’t want to sit in a movie theatre or restaurant and have someone sitting next to them light up a joint or hit a bong. 

But that’s not what’s happening now, and there’s no reason to suggest it would begin to happen. Medical marijuana users are discreet and go out of their way to avoid confrontation; legislatively limiting medical rights for a non-issue is not the answer. 

Segregating medical marijuana users and confining them to their own homes violates their medical rights, and makes clear the province doesn’t place medical rights at the top of their list of priorities. The issue is complicated when you consider that this legislation would cause certain medical marijuana users to be unable to take their medication. 

Students who live in dorms, social housing residents, hospital patients confined to their rooms, and even prisoners who use medical marijuana would be prohibited from either combusting or vaping their medication. This is unacceptable. 

Cannabis lounges provide a safe and comfortable space to congregate, discuss meaningful issues surrounding cannabis, and provide support and comfort to those seeking it. 

Many of the patrons at my lounge, Higher Limits, have never seen cannabis before, let alone have consumed it. They’ve received a prescription from their doctor, ordered off of a website from a Health Canada approved medical marijuana producer, and one day a package arrived at their front door. Most don’t know they need to grind their medical marijuana in order to smoke or vape it. 

Cannabis lounges serve as a refuge for those who have been. prescribed medical marijuana for the first time and are seeking information. 

The proposed legislation intentionally targets a vulnerable and protected group in society for discrimination without meaningful justification whatsoever. 

If the province can dictate to medical marijuana users where, when and how they can medicate, it raises the question of what medication they’ll seek to prohibit next.

The Windsor Independent
Jon Liedtke
April 15, 2016

Jon Liedtke was a co-owner and business development manager for The Windsor Independent.


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