Manitoba

Manitoba medical marijuana users will get to toke most places you can smoke

If you want to light up a joint in Manitoba, patients with a medical licence will have more leeway than recreational smokers.

Recreational use only allowed in private residences

Though the province has severely restricted where Manitobans can legally smoke recreational cannabis, it has liberated the rules for medicinal users. (Holly Caruk/CBC)

If you want to light up a joint in Manitoba, patients with a medical licence will have more leeway than recreational smokers.

The provincial government announced Tuesday that medical users can smoke or vape in outdoor public places — provided they are eight metres from any building with a public access. 

Compare that to recreational users, who will only be allowed to smoke in private residences, provided their landlord allows it.

This restriction will prevent pot smoke from wafting near restaurants, patios, stadiums, outdoor entertainment venues, wading pools, splash pads, water parks, playgrounds, public beaches or bus shacks, the province said in a news release.

The regulations for medical cannabis are essentially the same prohibitions in place for tobacco, said health minister Cameron Friesen.

The government has insisted on the same eight-metre setback for all public facilities to avoid confusion, he said.

"We've tried to find a consistent measure that we believe will be more effective and give more confidence to law enforcement officials."

Asked about the fine amounts for users who break the rules, Friesen said those figures would be released shortly.

Patients being abandoned: NDP

Those with a prescription for cannabis will get to smoke in more places than recreational users, who are prohibited from consuming the drug anywhere except private residences — provided they own their own home or their landlord gives the OK.

The province is forgetting about medical marijuana users whose landlords don't allow pot smoking, NDP health critic Andrew Swan alleged. 

'It means Manitobans living with chronic pain or illness will be forced to stand outside in the middle of winter as they medicate," he said in a statement. "No person should have their essential healthcare denied because of this Premier's ideologies."

Manitoba Liberal leader Dougald Lamont said the province's cannabis rules are a hodgepodge without rhyme or reason.

Only eight days from legalization, he's heard no plan on what the province will do with the 75 per cent of cannabis excise tax revenue that Ottawa allocated to them.

When Lamont asked to use cannabis revenue to combat the scourge of meth in the province, Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister told question period Tuesday that the government is not expecting a significant influx of revenue. 

"If he wants higher taxes, he should say," Pallister said.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ian Froese

Reporter

Ian Froese is a reporter with CBC Manitoba. He has previously worked for newspapers in Brandon and Steinbach. Story idea? Email: ian.froese@cbc.ca.

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