Article by Julia Veintrop, Cannabis Life Network
On January 22, 2018, BC Ferries will begin violating the human rights of medical cannabis users everywhere when they begin their new smoke-free environment policy. Legalization is more than just a speck on the horizon and we know without a doubt that there are people who need medicinal cannabis to live; our laws would not be rapidly changing if we didn’t.
It seems incredibly ludicrous and downright negligent that considerations to protect the rights of both medical users as well as the public are not mandatory, especially with essential services such as transportation. This is a catastrophic lack of oversight that will have serious consequences for a vast majority of people in our society… here’s why…
From the perspective of someone who is sick…
- Most voyages on BC Ferries are a minimum of an hour and a half long.
- A vast majority of Doctors and Specialists, clinics, over 3 hospitals and treatment options are centered in Vancouver, including The BC Cancer Agency, BC Center for Disease Control, and BC Women’s Clinic at UBC Hospital
- The Province knows and understands how often medical travel is necessary to the point where they pay for it with The Travel Assistance Program.
- BC Ferries is the ONLY way to physically get onto the mainland unless you can afford to fly. A harbor plane costs on average of $140 per flight and it can double at the airport. If you can’t fly or use the ferry, you are stuck.
When I was really ill and waiting for my operation, I had to go back and forth from Victoria and Vancouver a lot and believe me, I felt every bump we went over. As someone whose body doesn’t tolerate opiates, cannabis is my only option for pain both mild and severe.
Knowing that I would be traveling just days after having a major organ removed and that I would be unable to take any form of opiate, my surgeon agreed to sign for my license for the Federal right to access, possess and use cannabis medicinally.
BC Ferries’ policies create problems, not fix them
Like the majority of cannabis users, I don’t want to bother anyone when I am medicating; I want to be able to relax. There are few experiences that are more uncomfortable than coming face to face with a child when you are blowing out a toke, or furthermore, a pissed off parent.
When I had to take the Ferry and avoid these encounters, I would use my personal vaporizer from the passenger seat of my car. With it producing no smoke, along with a great air freshener and a safe driver escort waiting sober in the cafe, I could medicate with windows up and rest if I needed it; all scent would dissipate by the time we arrived at our destination.
Unfortunately, in October 2017, they changed the rules so that no one can stay in their vehicles below deck because of a “risk of fire” and “to harmonize with BC Ferries’ other policies”. Starting January 2018, the entire time you are waiting for a ferry or being transported by one, you can not smoke or vaporize medical cannabis anywhere, at all; even if you need it to live and have a Federal License legitimizing that.