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Ontario: Want Licensed Cannabis Lounges? Weigh in Now!

January 22, 2018

The Ontario government last week released a list of proposed modifications to the province’s cannabis regulations, and is now seeking citizen input.

The new proposals could potentially legalize everything from cannabis use in boats and RVs to licensed cannabis consumption lounges.

The key theme among the new proposals: expanding where recreational and medical cannabis can legally be consumed. The existing draft of Ontario’s Cannabis Plan forbids cannabis consumption in all public places—essentially restricting legal use to private residences—but the new proposals could open things up considerably, potentially legalizing everything from cannabis use in boats and RVs to allowing for licensed cannabis consumption lounges.

“Ontario’s proposed regulations would also relax consumption rules in other areas,” writes Jacquie Miller in the Ottawa Citizen. “Tourists would find it easier to check out Ontario’s legal pot, for instance. People would be allowed to smoke or vape in any hotel room where cigarette smoking is allowed.”

Canadian Edibles Get a Green Light, Licensed Producers Rejoice

Legal cannabis consumption in parked RVs and hotels is nice, but the main point of excitement around Ontario’s proposed modifications is the prospect of licensed cannabis consumption lounges, the importance of which was recently underscored by cannabis activist (and grey-market cannabis lounge proprietor) Abi Roach.

By outlawing lounges, ‘You’re creating an unwelcoming environment for tourists and an uncomfortable home situation for families,’ says Abi Roach.

By outlawing cannabis lounges, Roach told Leafly, “You’re pushing people out into the streets and alleys, and their cars. You’re pushing people into more dangerous situations. You’re creating an unwelcoming environment for tourists and an uncomfortable home situation for families.”

Trina Fraser, an Ottawa lawyer specializing in cannabis law, agrees.

“If you’re not creating venues for people to consume cannabis, you are basically driving it into the very places you don’t want,” Fraser told the Citizen. “If somebody doesn’t want to get evicted from their (no-smoking) apartment, they might smoke in their car, and you don’t want them smoking in their car. But they are going to feel like, ‘I’ve got no choice. I’ve got no other place to go where I can use cannabis.’ That’s an issue.”

The Ontario government is seeking citizen input on the proposed modifications through March 5. Read the full text of the proposed modifications and submit comments here.

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Dave Schmader

Dave Schmader is the author of the book "Weed: The User's Guide." Follow him on Twitter @davidschmader

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