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Patio pot ban draws rights complaint

Banning medicinal marijuana users from smoking on outdoor patiosviolates human rights, says a city man who has lodged a complaintagainst the province.


Banning medicinal marijuana users from smoking on outdoor patios violates human rights, says a city man who has lodged a complaint against the province.

Russell Barth’s complaint this week to the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) alleges that Ontario Liquor Licence Act regulations, which prohibit consumption of controlled substances in licensed areas, infringe on people federally licensed to smoke marijuana to ease ailments.

The complaint comes after Barth, who suffers from fibromyalgia and other disorders, was prevented from smoking outside a city comedy club on May 7.

“Provincially, there is no provision for people who use medicinal marijuana,” said the 39-year-old amateur comedian, who has held a medicinal marijuana licence since 2002. “So this puts every club owner and the staff in a conundrum. If they allow me to use it, they’re in violation of the ... act and if they don’t, they’re violating my human rights to use medicine.

“We’re not asking for special rights. We’re just asking for the right to use cannabis where other people use tobacco.”

Barth doesn’t blame the bar owners, but he wants amendments to legislation because federal regulations allow holders to use medicinal marijuana wherever tobacco can be used.

OHRC spokeswoman Afroze Edwards said she could not speak directly about the complaint, but said generally, “People who do take marijuana for medicinal purposes have a legal right to do it.

“They have the right to take their medicine, if it requires smoking marijuana in the same place where other people smoke cigarettes.”

Barth said the provincial restrictions makes him and his wife, Christine Lowe, who has epilepsy and also uses medicinal marijuana, feel like “second-class” citizens.

“It’s hard enough being disabled and poor and weak without being treated like this,” he said.

 
 
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