Pubdate: Fri, 27 Nov 2015
Source: Globe and Mail (Canada)
Copyright: 2015 The Globe and Mail Company
Page: A14

Medical Marijuana


What are they smoking at Ontario's Health Ministry? New regulations
introduced by the government (and just as quickly pulled back after a
torrent of criticism) would have allowed medical-marijuana users to
bypass strict no-smoking policies and light up pretty well wherever
they chose - restaurants, shopping malls, at the movies, on the job.

In a modern medical miracle, Ontario made the dangers and annoyances
of second-hand smoke evaporate in a puff of pot. The government
ministry tasked with keeping people healthy simply fixated so much on
the desire of marijuana users to remedy their pain that they
overlooked the people who expect smoke-free environments to be just

Is medical marijuana good for myopia? The health legislators exempted
medical-cannabis users from no-smoking rules by treating them as
people with disabilities who required exceptional accommodation. A
joint, then, is like a service dog for the blind, an instrument of
equality to overcome barriers and transcend rules - and the smoke in
your eyes no longer officially counts.

But dogs and dope are discernibly different - only one compromises air
quality when smoked. Those who need marijuana shouldn't be denied it,
but pain-relieving weed isn't exactly a defibrillator. It's not as if
every second counts. You can demedicalize for long enough to walk
outside like the smoker you are, or plan ahead and take your THC in
less noxious form.

What's worrying about Ontario's marijuana policy, apart from its
anti-health implications, is how this act of exceptionalism could be
developed with such a poor understanding of its consequences.
Restaurant owners, for example, apparently weren't consulted, yet they
would have policed its implementation - the regulations let them
request medical users stop smoking, and risk the consequences of

Ontario called this a "balancing of rights," though it might better be
referred to as "creating a social-media firestorm" or "chickening
out." We entrust government with power to protect our collective
health. With smoking, there's no need for exceptions.
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MAP posted-by: Matt