Federal Provincial

Ontarians Can Use Medical Cannabis in Public

By Joseph Jamil | October 31, 2017

The Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (“ACMPR”), as it is drafted does not contain any restrictions as to where medical patients may consume cannabis.

On the Provincial level, Ontario has not set any restrictions either. In November 2015, the Ontario government attempted to amend the Electronic Cigarette Act and the Smoke Free Ontario Act, which bans the use of e-cigarettes in public.  The amendment would have excluded those who use cannabis for medical purposes from the prohibition of using e-cigarettes in otherwise smoke-free places.  Dipika Damerla, the then Associate Minister of Health and Long-Term Care stated that employers and restaurant owners could “override this exemption”, so as to restrict the use of cannabis at the workplace or in local cafes. The proposed exemption was quickly removed and the government returned to the drawing board. To our understanding, the Ontario government has yet to make any new efforts to legislate on where registered medical cannabis patients may consume.

As for the recreational market, we already know that provinces will impose restrictions on where people may use cannabis for recreational purposes. In Ontario, the government has stated that initially consumption will be prohibited in public and only legal within private residences. The government has stated that it will consider the possibility of licensed spaces for consumption in the future.  Despite this, we can anticipate that any law relating to consumption will provide for an exemption with respect to medical purposes use.

In July of this year, Attorney General Yasir Naqvi signalled that the public could look to Ontario’s tobacco by-laws for answers with regards to restrictions for smoking recreational cannabis. However, the Smoke-Free Ontario Act only restricts where people can smoke tobacco or hold lighted tobacco and does not include cannabis for medical purposes.

So, what does this mean? We currently have a gap in the legislation where consumption of cannabis for medical purposes is not addressed. Effectively if you are registered as a patient under the ACMPR, you can use cannabis for medical purposes wherever you want.


Comments (3)

  1. Jules:
    Dec 29, 2018 at 12:53 AM

    Fascinating article. Very in depth. My one question is: from where would Canada import cannabis? Are there countries currently exporting cannabis legally? Uraguay seems like the most economical source, although shipping costs could be an issue.

  2. miss lena:
    Feb 24, 2019 at 01:52 PM


    All labels will need to be plain, not appealing to children, and make no health claims. For edibles, there may be no dietary claims, and for topicals, there may be no cosmetic claims. For all of the new product classes, packaging and labelling must not contain any elements that associate the product with an alcoholic beverage, alcohol, or an alcohol brand.

  3. miss lena:
    Feb 24, 2019 at 01:52 PM

    All labels will need to be plain, not appealing to children, and make no health claims. For edibles, there may be no dietary claims, and for topicals, there may be no cosmetic claims. For all of the new product classes, packaging and labelling must not contain any elements that associate the product with an alcoholic beverage, alcohol, or an alcohol brand.






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