Canadians for Fair Access to Medical Marijuana (CFAMM) would like to see medical cannabis users allowed to smoke or vape in public places where smoking is permitted, and are hoping public persistence will convince the Quebec government to reverse its proposed stance.
If passed, Quebec’s Bill 2, An Act to tighten the regulation of cannabis, would ban cannabis use in all public places province-wide, reports CFAMM, a federal non-profit, non-partisan, patient-run organization dedicated to protecting and improving the rights of medical cannabis patients.
The organization has called on “the public to support medical cannabis users by signing the petition on the National Assembly website asking the Government of Quebec to include an exemption” in the bill that “will allow medical cannabis patients to medicate anywhere the consumption of tobacco is authorized.”
For tens of thousands of patients in Quebec, a CFAMM press release states, these individuals can sometimes consume cannabis several times a day, including in public spaces, to relieve their symptoms, including acute neuropathic pain, spasticity and neuropathy associated with multiple sclerosis, loss of appetite in patients with HIV wasting syndrome and nausea induced by chemotherapy.
“In addition to the unfair taxes added to medical cannabis by the various levels of government, Quebec patients will now be left with a legal and safe drug, but will have no public place to consume it,” says CFAMM vice-president Gerald Major, who is also a patient using medical cannabis. “The use of this medication should not become a source of stress for patients who have chosen to use plants to improve their quality of life.”
Smoking or vaping cannabis can act on the body and relieve debilitating symptoms in 10 to 15 minutes, unlike the response time after ingesting oils, capsules or edibles products, which range from 60 to 90 minutes, the organization explains.
“The potential benefits of medical cannabis, combined with growing public interest in this plant, provides the government with an opportunity to be proactive and include an exemption in the law for the use of medical cannabis,” says Antoine Roussel, a spokesperson for CFAMM in Quebec. “This will not only rightfully recognize the rights of medical cannabis patients, but will also help in removing the social stigma around medical cannabis use,” Roussel continues.