Medical pot users in limbo with new Manitoba vaping rules, advocate says

Laws to keep e-cigarettes out of the hands of kids make sense - but shouldn't unjustly impact medical marijuana users, Steven Stairs says.

'You wouldn't force somebody to take an insulin needle out on the street corner,' Steven Stairs says

Steven Stairs currently has permission to use his vaporizer for medical marijuana on the U of M campus and on Winnipeg Transit. He is concerned those permissions will now be revoked. (John McCoy/Los Angeles Daily News/AP)

Medical marijuana users in Manitoba will be unjustly impacted by the province's proposed legislation banning vaporizers from being used in most indoors spaces, says Steven Stairs, a medical marijuana user and advocate. 

The new legislation calls for a ban in indoor public places like schools, libraries, hospitals, malls, restaurants, indoor workplaces and cars where kids under 16 are present.

Laws keeping e-cigarettes and other items out of the hands of children makes sense, Stairs said, but he's concerned that the government hasn't looked at all populations that will be impacted by the new legislation.

"I think there are some vagaries in the legislation that really put medical marijuana patients in a bit of a limbo state, more so than they already are. I think it's going to put a lot of burden on them in the future that could really be detrimental to their health," Stairs told CBC's Information Radio

The idea that someone can't vape at their indoor workplace, or in his case at the University of Manitoba, is upsetting, Stairs said.

"You wouldn't force somebody to take an insulin needle out on the street corner. Why would you force them to go and consume their marijuana?"

More patients should have been consulted in the development of the legislation, Stairs said.

Things such as designated outdoor space at work and school would lead to further problems, Stairs said. For example, he doesn't want to also be inhaling second-hand smoke if he has to be outside with smokers. But if there was a separate area designated, Stairs would be concerned about theft since it would become known that people there always have cannabis on their person.  

"When you're making legislation that's so broad, you have to include the subsections of society that you're going to affect and frankly, I think that this legislation fails to do that."


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