Ontario Will Allow Cannabis In Smoking Areas

By Benjie Cooper

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Among the variety of rules and regulations that come with cannabis legalization, the banning of public consumption is a common one, leaving a general lack of legal options for those who wish to partake in an environment other than their own home.

But the province of Ontario is looking to accommodate marijuana users by loosening restrictions and allowing people to smoke or vape cannabis in areas where tobacco smoking is permitted.

Ontario Attorney General Caroline Mulroney and Finance Minister Vic Fedeli made the announcement on Wednesday, one day before new cannabis legislation was to be tabled.

“We’re aligning with the Smoke-Free Ontario Act,” said Mulroney. “The proposed legislation eases the regulations to allow marijuana to be smoked in the same places as cigarettes.”

Previous rules stated that once cannabis legalization goes into effect on October 17, adults over the age of 19 would only be allowed to use marijuana inside a private residence.

It was also announced that they would not be capping the number of cannabis retailers when the marketplace begins, though municipalities will have until January 2019 to opt out of allowing them in their areas.

“We want to make sure the consumers are protected, but we want to open up the marketplace,” said Fedeli. “This is an opportunity for small businesses to get involved. We want to have as many participants as possible to be involved.”

Last month, the Ontario government announced that all cannabis sales would be online when the marketplace opens and expects retail shops to be open by April 2019.