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Regulate Public Use Of Medical Marijuana

Herb Fellow

New Member
Halton's Member of Parliament has convinced Canada's health minister to re-examine the use of medical marijuana in public places following recent news reports of a Burlington bar owner being taken to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario by a former patron.

Garth Turner, Liberal MP for the riding of Halton, which includes parts of north Burlington and Oakville, told the Post last Thursday he received a response to a Feb. 11 letter he sent to federal health minister Tony Clement.

"Under the current regulations there are no limits on where the medical practitioner can utilize the prescribed (marijuana) medication, an oversight which has led to unfortunate consequences in my riding and, I am sure, in other jurisdictions of Canada," Turner wrote, in his letter to Clement. "This is a matter that must be addressed, as it affects the health of Canadians who have no wish to be exposed to marijuana, or second-hand smoke.

"Numerous jurisdictions around the world have legalized medical marijuana and many of them have also regulated where it can be used. It is time for Canada to follow their example and implement crystal clear and enforceable restrictions on the use of medical marijuana in public spaces," Turner's letter concluded.

The MP said he is siding with Ted Kindos, the longtime owner of Gator Ted's restaurant/bar on Guelph Line. Kindos is awaiting a Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario hearing in May, following failed Ontario Human Rights Commission mediation talks in the wake of claims of discrimination by former longtime customer Steve Gibson.

Gibson, 42, a local resident who has a federal licence to smoke medical marijuana for a job-related neck injury in 1989, believes he was unfairly treated by Kindos three years ago when he was first asked to stay further away from the bar's entrance than regular cigarette smokers, and later told by Kindos not to smoke his legal pot anywhere near the Gator Ted's property.
Kindos, 42, counters that bar patrons had complained about the marijuana smoke.

Gibson contends that he should have been able to light up his legal weed and stand in the same area where tobacco smokers congregate, which he says is often within 10 feet of the bar's entrance. He has said he's never asked or demanded to be allowed to smoke inside Gator Ted's and that he is not seeking such treatment through his human rights case.

Kindos told the Post on Friday that he tries to keep cigarette smokers at least 10 feet away from the front of his business. He earlier told the Post that he eventually asked Gibson to stay at least 100 feet from the bar when he smokes his marijuana.

The City of Burlington banned all smoking in restaurants in January 2006, in advance of a similar provincial ban that took effect in May 2006. The Gibson-Kindos showdown outside the restaurant occurred in May 2005.

The press secretary for Tony Clement sent the Post an e-mail response Thursday afternoon, when asked if the health minister had received a letter from Turner seeking action by his office on the general issue of medical marijuana use in public places.

"Yes, we agree, marijuana smoke contains a large number of chemicals which can be very damaging to human health. A recent New Zealand study indicated one marijuana cigarette could do as much damage as a pack of 20 tobacco cigarettes," said Laryssa Waler, on behalf of Clement. "We also agree that individuals who do not smoke licensed marijuana should not be exposed to the harmful effects of the smoke. We are willing to explore ways in which we can protect Canadians from exposure to marijuana smoke."

Turner is ecstatic with the minister's quick response. "It looks like the government's initial reaction is that they agree (with me) so that's a very positive development.

"I'm not sure this will help the restaurant guy (Kindos) in the immediate short-term with his human rights case, but it might. His lawyer might be able to even use this information to prove that the government that drafted the law says it's faulty. I think it's great news and definitely in the future it should help us avoid this kind of a situation."

Turner said he has talked to Kindos once and Kindos's lawyer a couple of times to receive background information about the human rights case. "We're working together and seeing if we can get some damn common sense in government. One of the first things we did was find out if there is a bylaw in Burlington related to smoking outside and there isn't, so this is a completely grey area," said Turner.

"The point is, nobody should be exposed to second-hand smoke. The bar owner has got to have some assurance that some guy's not going to come into his bar under the influence of drugs as that endangers his liquor licence. That's why we need restrictions on this federal law. If he (Gibson) has to do it (smoke marijuana) in a private place, then that's not going to be a sidewalk," he added.

Turner said that if Clement stalls on making changes to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, which regulates marijuana use, he will introduce a motion in Parliament asking for a limit on the use of medical marijuana "to private residences and other designated locations."

Kindos told the Post he appreciates the support he's getting from Turner and the general public. He has said that the legal bills he faces may put his bar on the brink of bankruptcy. "The support has been unbelievable. Since (Feb. 8) we've been averaging about 100-200 e-mails a day."

Kindos said he's even had several medical marijuana users come into the bar to say they advocate only smoking their legal pot in private locations. Gibson could not be reached for comment on Turner's efforts on behalf of Kindos.

Source: The Burlington Post
Copyright: 2008, The Burlington Post
Contact: Tim Whitnell
Website: BurlingtonPost.com: Article

Herb Fellow

New Member
I think this should be discussed among us smokers and set some proper etiquette as to smoking in public. Smoking in front of Applebees should be different than smoking at a concert.


New Member
I just got published!!



Marijuana patient pleads for understanding

Feb 22, 2008

The following is an open letter to Burlington Post, restaurant owner Ted Kindos and Halton MP Garth Turner.

I don't think the people across Canada understand the issue of medical marijuana patient Steve Gibson and owner of Gator Ted's Restaurant, Ted Kindos, in their disagreement involving the accusation of blatant discrimination and the Ontario Human Rights Commission.

I know many people in Canada know who I am by now; I've been doing this for many years. For those who have been away or have been hiding under a rock with Mr. Turner and Mr. Kindos, my name is Alison Myrden and I am a medical marijuana patient just like Mr. Gibson.

I have taken my time to speak up about this in print because it has been such a heated conversation and I can't take the stress of speaking about it as the pain in my face flares up horribly. The slightest bit of stress will set me off.

I smoke at least every hour when I am out of my home. It doesn't matter if I am at a baseball game at The Roger's Centre, an amusement park or sometimes inside but most definitely outside of every eatery I go to. I smoke everywhere I go. I have to. If I don't, I have to rely on medically-prescribed cocaine and heroin, up to 2,000 mg of morphine, not including 32 other pills, every day just to start to touch my pain and other issues associated with chronic, progressive multiple sclerosis.

What Mr. Turner and some of your readers are misunderstanding I believe, is the fact that people like Mr. Gibson and myself have been given this right because we are sick. There is no other reason. I might add that there are fewer than 2,300 of us across Canada with the legal right to do this so we are new and definitely here to stay.

I am deeply offended and personally shocked that our federal Health Minister, Mr. Tony Clement, is not even aware of the most recent information stating (some) doctors in the U.S. also believe cannabis is a great choice of medicine and it is not going away any time soon. Cannabis is not cancer causing. We have been reassured by brilliant doctors and scientists at medical conferences over the years that cannabis heals and the smoke is very therapeutic and non-carcinogenic.

Banishing medical cannabis smokers to a back corner or more than 100 feet away from the entrance of an establishment is not only totally callous and hard hearted but very much discriminatory.

Please, Mr. Turner, Mr. Kindos and people of Canada, try to be a little more understanding of the medical cannabis patients in our country. I have been at the forefront of this movement for more than 10 years. I only wish people could feel my inner pain with what we have had to endure. These medical marijuana licences are not easy to come by so try to have some empathy for those who are debilitated and sick enough to have one.

Due to the effect this has on my health, this will be the last I speak of this issue publicly until the hearing in May, where Human Rights has asked me to be an expert witness for Mr. Gibson. All we ask in the meantime is that you walk just one day in our shoes.

Alison Myrden

Federal Medical Marijuana Exemptee in Canada,

The Medical Marijuana Mission

The Medical Marijuana Mission Home
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Herb Fellow

New Member
Excellent letter/article, Alison; you are gifted with the printed word. I'm a medical marijuana user also, but not nearly in need of my meds as you are. I truly feel for you. I have crohn's disease, arthritis and deal with depression and anxiety attacks. A bowl of good herb helps better than a hand full of pills. Thanks for sharing your story.
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