Jon Liedtke, the owner of Windsor's first medical marijuana vaping lounge, is in a pinch right now because of Canada's tobacco laws. That's because while he is legally allowed to operate a medical marijuana lounge, it is against the law to provide ashtrays.
It's all a bit confusing, but that's because in late November 2015, the regulation exempted medical marijuana users from the law banning cigarette smokers and e-cigarette users to smoke in the majority of public places in Ontario.
Under the law, people are not allowed to smoke or even hold a lighted tobacco in enclosed workspaces and public places in Ontario. There are designated and enclosed smoking areas, and anyone caught in prohibited areas could be ticketed and fined. Likewise, employers, operators and owners of establishments must comply with the rules by posting appropriate signs, enforcing the law within their territories, asking anyone who does not comply with the law to leave and removing ashtrays and any item that could serve as one.
All Liedtke can do right now is to allow his customers to dispose of the ash on the tables and countertops, at least until he can find a better solution. However, he is hoping health officials would reconsider and allow him to provide ashtrays or find other options since his lounge mainly entertains those who need marijuana for lawful reasons.
"Hopefully we can work together to seek a resolution on it and if they're not willing to do that then we'll have to investigate some other options, which might mean meeting with the Ministry of Health," Liedtke said.
"I think it's something that will likely be considered moving forward in relation to the use of medical marijuana, specifically in public places and workplaces," Director of Knowledge Management Kristy McBeth from the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit said.