Article by Jacquie Miller, Ottawa Citizen
People attending a craft beer festival in Toronto in June will be able to smoke pot there, too, in what organizers say will be the first legal cannabis lounge in the province.
The “POTio” will be created in an outdoor area normally reserved for cigarette smokers at the provincially-owned Ontario Place.
The lounge is billed as a place where festival goers can “come down” from the beer and explore the world of cannabis while being educated about how to consume it responsibly.
The POTio might be a first, but organizers of other festivals and events across Ontario are grappling with how to handle the first summer of legal recreational pot.
Some events already ban smoking. But others are faced with the new reality in Ontario: people are generally allowed to smoke pot wherever tobacco smoking is allowed.
Festivals are taking different approaches.
Bluesfest in Ottawa, for example, will give all smokers a place to indulge their habit. A fenced-off area near the main concert stage at LeBreton Flats will be open to anyone over 19 smoking a legal substance, whether it’s a cigarette or a joint. No food or alcohol will be allowed.
The festival introduced the smoking area last year, which was also open to people who could prove they were medical marijuana users.
Security staff will still enforce no-smoking rules on the rest of the festival grounds, said Bluesfest spokesperson A.J. Sauvé.
At the Mariposa Folk Festival in Orillia, which is held in a city park, tobacco smoking had been allowed in the past except in areas banned under the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, such as near playgrounds. That will probably change this year. The municipality takes a final vote April 1 on a bylaw that would ban cannabis and tobacco smoking and vaping in city parks.