Hundreds joined together in Toronto Apr. 9, to protest the Ontario government’s plan to restrict the use and sale of e-cigarettes and vaping.
Originally exempt from restrictions, medical cannabis vaping and electronic cigarette use in public will now also fall under the Smoke Free Ontario Act, restricting patients from using their medication and accessing information from dispensaries.
Alex Newman, owner of Endless Heights Culture Shop, said the changes will also force all cannabis lounges to shut down.
“It will put severe restrictions on how medical devices can be advertised, sold, even just talked about,” Newman said. “The dispensaries would be forced to hide their products as well. It would basically muffle the entire industry.”
Jon Liedtke, who operates the Windsor vaping lounge Higher Limits, said it doesn’t make sense for the Ontario government to be advocating for safe injection sites for illegal drugs while at the same time banning vapour lounges from providing a safe space for legal medical patients.
“If they want to say that cannabis lounges are illegal, then let’s go have that battle. If they want to say that smoking medical marijuana is illegal, then let’s have that battle. But certainly don’t go and tell medical marijauana users that they can’t consume their medication in public,” said Liedtke. “It’s time for the government to stop treating us like criminals, because we’re not criminals, we’re operating in a completely legal system and, until they want to change that, they can’t be putting forward measures that would just shut us down.”
The new regulations for Bill 45 are open to public consultation until April 24.