Pubdate: Sat, 09 Dec 2017
Source: Sault Star, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2017 The Sault Star
Author: Jeffrey Ougler
Page: A1


Smoke-free means smoke-free at Sault Area Hospital - whether that
applies to tobacco fixes or toking up.

Sault Area Hospital currently has a no-cigarette policy that
encompasses its entire property, which will apply once recreational
pot becomes legal in Canada next summer.

"We have a no-smoking policy, so that would apply to smoking marijuana
on our property," SAH president and CEO Ron Gagnon told The Sault Star.

SAH's policy includes all buildings, parking lots, the Hub Trail
running along the eastern edge of the hospital grounds, roads
encircling the hospital leading to and from both Great Northern Road
and Third Line and wooded and grass areas to the south and west of the
emergency department and helipad.

Hospital property also includes sidewalks and grass areas adjacent to
access roads, as well as land south of Third Line and east of the F.J.
Davey Home. There is also no smoking in vehicles parked or being
driven on SAH property. The policy applies to all patients, visitors,
staff, physicians and volunteers.

In September, The Ontario government announced a framework to manage
the sale and use of marijuana, which includes an online ordering
service and roughly 150 stand-alone stores. The plan also included the
proposed minimum age of 19 to use, purchase and possess, recreational

In early November, the province announced new legislation to "safely"
regulate the use and sale of recreational cannabis in the province. If
passed, Bill 174 would enact the Cannabis Act, 2017 and the Ontario
Cannabis Retail Corporation Act, 2017, while replacing the Smoke-Free
Ontario Act and the Electronic Cigarettes Act, 2015 with the
Smoke-Free Ontario Act, 2017.

Gagnon said there will, no doubt, be patient issues the hospital will
have to take under consideration as time goes on.

"If it's part of the medical treatment plan, that is something we're
going to have to definitely turn our minds to," he added.

"And there are alternatives to smoking and vaping. How exactly this
will look in this hospital, we have not finalized all of those policies."

The Ontario Hospital Association says the proposed legislation
indicates consumption of cannabis will be limited to private
residences and bans the use of cannabis in public places, workplaces,
motor vehicles, boats and any other prescribed place. It does provide
for limited exemptions for medical users of cannabis, however,
allowing for medicinal use in designated rooms in certain facilities,
such as long-term care homes, retirement homes, supportive housing
residences, psychiatric facilities, veterans facilities, hotels,
motels and inns.

Regarding the hospital's policy on employee pot use while on the job,
or becoming impaired prior to a shift, "it's no different than alcohol

"We can't allow somebody to be impaired in trying to perform their
duties, which impact people's lives … no different than with alcohol,"
Gagnon said.
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MAP posted-by: Matt