Toronto Officials Mixed on Public Cannabis Smoking

After the Ontario government made provisions for medical cannabis smokers to use vaporizers in public, the city of Toronto is weighing in on future marijuana use.

“I don’t think it’s something that is on our radar,” said councillor and chair of the Toronto public health board Joe Mihevc. “If it becomes more pronounced and present, then we would want to consider our actions.”

Toronto mayor John Tory said it doesn’t make “common sense” to allow cannabis smoking in places where tobacco is banned.

“I think the rules should be consistent because smoking is smoking,” Tory said.

According to Toronto Public Health drug strategy manager Susan Shepherd, the city is currently looking into the “health harms” of cannabis and will report their findings back to the health board next year.

The city’s licensing and standards department enforces smoking bans at public parks and beaches and said they will be reviewing the new regulations for medical cannabis users to see if they have any impact on their responsibilities.

Councillor Jim Karygiannis said Toronto needs to be prepared for when the federal government legalizes cannabis for recreational users, which will bring a new set of issues.

Karygiannis said he doesn’t see why medical cannabis users should be exempt from many of the same rules that apply to tobacco.

“If the guy who is addicted to tobacco needs to go outside to smoke, then I think if you need to smoke medical marijuana, you should go outside to smoke it, too,” Karygiannis said.