Ottawa Activist Keeps Up Fight Against Provincial Smoking Ban

Russell Barth is a well-known cannabis activist in Ottawa, who had an incident with the mayor Jim Watson last year over the issue of vaping cannabis in public. The mayor was quoted as saying that cannabis users should “use that product on your property in your own house” after a new vapor lounge had opened locally. Barth made a complaint to the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal because of that comment. The tribunal found that the comments weren’t discriminatory, which Barth said he expected.

He continues to to engage with the courts over the provincial vaping laws. The province of Ontario announced a new public smoking ban and Ottawa is waiting to see how it plays out before enacting any of it’s own legislation. Barth says he will fight them on any restrictions of sick people who require medicine. “The government’s being too heavy handed with it,” he said. His wife suffers from epilepsy and he argues that someone in her condition would need to medicate with cannabis if she had seizures while on a public bus for example.

The activist says that instead of using police resources on preventing people from vaping or smoking in public, he would rather see an educational effort on how to be courteous when others are vaping around you. “That kind of stuff does more than enforcement and regulation,” Garth noted.