Ontario government won’t grant exception for vapour lounges and compassion clubs from smoking restrictions

The provincial government won’t allow vapour lounges and compassion clubs to be exempt from rules that restrict medical cannabis use anywhere cigarettes are banned.

The government’s Bill 178 will amend the Smoke Free Ontario Act to include medical cannabis along with tobacco.

Proposed amendments to the Bill from Conservative opposition MPP Randy Hillier would have allowed vapour lounges and compassion clubs to bypass the restrictions.

Hillier said, without changes, the current Bill is written “over the top,” preventing medical from medication anywhere besides private homes and is an over-reaction to the misconception in the public that any exceptions would allow medical cannabis users would be allowed to smoke in public wherever they like.

All the proposed amendments were defeated at committee of by the four Liberal members.

Parliamentary assistant to the associate minister of health in charge of the bill Indira Naidoo-Harris said the proposed changes were redundant and the differentiation of smoke and vapour is part of the upcoming Bill 45, currently being consulted on.
Hillier said workplaces and businesses should be allowed to decide for themselves if medical cannabis patients should be allowed to use their medicine on the premises.

“I think they’re sensible and reasonable amendments and would make for a more practical [law] … and recognize there are people who require marijuana to alleviate their pain and suffering,” he said.

Bill 178 is expected to be brought to a final vote before MPPs leave for the summer, June 9.