Where Can Medical Marijuana Users Smoke In Canada?

The rules are a little hazy on where those with medical marijuana cards can light up in Canada. Can business owners face discrimination complaints if they ask tokers to move from the front of thier businesses?

That is the question Ted Kindos, owner of Gator Ted’s Tap and Grill in Burlington, Ont., would like answered. He is being sued by Steve Gibson for discrimination after he asked the man to move from the front of his pub while toking.

The Montreal Gazette reports:

“We’re really looking to the court for assistance in resolving the tension between the liquor laws that apply to Mr. Kindos, which he is obligated to comply with, and the rights granted to the holder of a permit for the medicinal use of marijuana,” said Kindos’ lawyer Gary Graham.

Kindos and Gibson are heading to court after negotiations broke down between them last spring. Kindos then refused to sign a settlement paying Gibson $2,000 or to post a sign alerting patrons his establishment accommodated customers with medical marijuana exemptions. Kindos fears that that sign could put his liquor license in jeopardy.

Gibson says that Kindos is discriminating against him because he has a disability.
This case could settle where those with medical marijuana are allowed to light up in Canada. That is something that has not been addressed by federal regulations. Permit holders are asked to have common sense but without rules one man’s ideals may not be another man’s.

According to Health Canada smoking in public and potentially exposing others to the drug is not acceptable. Medical marijuana’s Health Canada rules have been in effect since 2001. Ottawa allows those who are dying or have symptoms of multiple sclerosis, spinal cord conditions, cancer, HIV/AIDS, epilepsy, severe forms of arthritis to have a permit if their doctor approves. Permit holders are allowed to grow it, have someone they designate to grow it or buy it through Health Canada.

Permit holders argue those rules aren’t good enough. Ottawa has failed to provide marijuana that is of good quality and it’s wait time is too long for those who are terminally ill. The wait time is now at eight to 12 weeks to obtain Health Canada’s approval for Canadian grown marijuana.

Barbara Hall, chief commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission said there is a duty to accommodate people with disabilities.

“This is about the need to balance between the legal and medical rights of one person to smoke marijuana legally because of health issues and the rights of others impacted by that,” she said.

Permit holders are not asking for special rights, only to be allowed to smoke where those who smoke cigarettes are allowed to according to Russell Barth, a comedian who has a permit for medical marijuana. He has filed a complaint against the Ontario government after he was informed he could not smoke on a club patio. He is seeking to have the province recognize that medical marijuana users have the right to take their medication as any other person does.

“We feel nervous every time we go out that we can get hassled by police or some yuppie with their kid is going to get their bum in a knot about it,” Barth said noting when he reached out for help to his city councillor he was told to grow up and stop wasting taxpayers dollars with a frivolous human rights complaint.

Barth’s case will go into mediation in February.

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