Instead of popping two aspirins, you can now light up a joint at work – if you have a medical marijuana prescription.
Medical marijuana users with a doctor’s prescription are exempt from the laws that prohibit cigarette smoking and e-cigarette vaping in most public places in Ontario, Associate Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, Dipika Damerla, explained on Wednesday.
“The law allows for an exemption because someone needs it for a medical purpose … It’s about negotiating. It’s about balancing the rights,” she said.
But Damerla said the legislation that allows for the exemption also permits business owners and employers to “override the exemption.”
“As an employer and a restaurant owner, you can say that there is no vaping, no smoking of medical marijuana,” she said.
CityNews has learned that the exemption doesn’t apply to establishes with liquor licences.
There was some confusion over whether the exemption applied only to vaping, and not smoking, but Damerla made it clear that both are permitted with a doctor’s approval.
“They are consistent with each other,” she said.
NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said her party would take a hard look at the rules surrounding medical marijuana smoking and vaping.
“We know that Health Canada has issued some warnings about exposure of young people to the smoke and vapor of medical marijuana and that’s something we have to keep in mind,” she said.
When asked how she would react if someone lit up a joint while she was enjoying dinner, she quipped, “I’ll probably eat more.”
Medical marijuana advocates applauded the exemptions.
In a release, Jonathan Zaid, Founder and Executive Director of Canadians for Fair Access to Medical Marijuana (CFAMM) stated: “This is another important milestone in the recognition of the legitimacy of the use of cannabis as a medicine. Ontario has taken a huge step forward by exempting medical cannabis patients and their use of vaporizers.”