Pubdate: Fri, 08 Jul 2016
Source: Toronto 24hours (CN ON)
Copyright: 2016 Canoe Inc.
Author: Sarah Hanlon
Page: 5


Pot activists promising smoke-ins

Black Lives Matter's arguably successful sit-in at the Pride parade
has now inspired the medical marijuana movement to use the same tactics.

Advocates are vowing to hold smoke-ins at key corners in The

It's been about a month since the Ontario government passed Bill 178,
which added "prescribed substances" to the Smoke-Free Ontario Act.
This addition prevents medical marijuana patients from medicating
anywhere cigarettes are prohibited.

And once this bill goes into effect, cannabis lounges in the city --
that have operated as community hubs for years -- become even more
vulnerable under the new law.

Now, medical marijuana users and advocates like Justin Loizos -- a
multiple sclerosis patient and director of the Cannabis Rights
Coalition -- are ready to take action.

Loizos and other frustrated cannabis users say they'll be holding
smoke-ins at busy intersections to demonstrate the desperate need for
safe spaces for marijuana users.

On an Instagram post designed to rally patrons of pot, he writes: "We
are left with no other choice to fight the nonsense... you leave us
with nowhere to medicate and nothing to do but fight back."

When I spoke to Loizos, he added: "No one should be forced to medicate

He also said there are plans for a mobile medication site in the form
of a bus.

The need for action is not surprising. People in desperate need are
growing frustrated by continued bureaucratic bungling and delays.

The recent sweep known as Project Claudia raided more than 40 medical
dispensaries in the city and the crackdowns are unrelenting .

In many ways, the most aggravating aspect is that citizens feel that
their voices are not being heard. Just last week city council deferred
a licensing and standards meeting in order to avoid hearing from the
many, law-abiding medical cannabis users and advocates that had shown
up to speak.

It's this latest governmental snub -- make no mistake, it's a refusal
to listen to Canadians -- that has prompted Justin Loizos and other
activists to turn up the heat to get things moving.

And if you happen to come across a pot protest, be patient and know
these are people who only want to be heard. Put it in park, roll down
the windows; enjoy the view and smell the resistance.

On a brighter note, the federal government has finally released a
discussion paper examining what legalization might look like. And,
surprise! They want the public's input.

Let Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's appointed pot policy pooh-bahs
know how you feel about legalization by going to:
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