Article by Matt Mernagh, Lift News
Bring your own cannabis: owners of Ontario cannabis lounges and advocacy group Sensible Ontario are inviting patients and enthusiasts to drop in for a session and to fill out a quick survey on Thursday, March 1 – the Lounges Day of Action.
In a move that could reflect evolving attitudes towards the role of cannabis lounges post-legalization, the Ontario government is conducting a survey to determine how best to regulate vapour lounges in the province under the Smoke Free Ontario Act.
Advocates say the community’s participation will help make these social centres for cannabis culture a legal reality.
“Ontario is now looking at a progressive and realistic approach to consumption and public health policies,” says Abi Roach, who owns Toronto’s Hotbox Cafe [full disclosure: I teach at Ganja School, located at the Hotbox]. “We are pleased to see consumption lounges being included in the framework. Lounges provide a frontline to safer consumption education and product information. Including lounges also solves the dilemma of indoor only consumption for families, renters and more – as well as providing a solution to public.”
In recent years, a handful of activists have petitioned Ontario committees and MPPs to legalize and regulate cannabis lounges.
Instead, in 2015 the Ontario Liberal party said they would update the Smoke Free Ontario Act via an omnibus bill, the Making Healthier Choices Act. The move would prohibit public consumption of legal medical cannabis.
The day after 4/20 that year, I was at Queen’s Park stinking like yesterday’s marijuana to read an impact statement and seek an exemption for patients. As a long-time medical cannabis consumer and activist, I wanted the government to understand why public spaces for patients to consume is important.
Jonathan Zaid and Canadians for Fair Access to Medical Marijuana followed up with the Ontario Minister of Health, Eric Hoskins, who arranged a meeting with the department responsible.