Medical cannabis producers shocked, concerned by new Ontario vaping rules

Proposals Unfair to Patients and Scientifically Unsound

OTTAWA, March 10, 2016 /CNW Telbec/ - The Canadian Medical Cannabis Industry Association (CMCIA) has expressed serious concerns regarding the Ontario government's proposals, via amendments to the Smoke-Free Ontario Act and Electronic Cigarettes Act, to ban the use of vaporized medical cannabis in all enclosed public places, enclosed workplaces, and specified outdoor areas. The Association believes Ontario's proposed legislative and regulatory changes are unscientific, and would cause harm to patients who use medical cannabis to help manage the symptoms of a range of health conditions.

The new proposals would prohibit medical cannabis patients from using their medicine at their workplace, inside buildings, and even in a wide range of outdoor locations, including hospital grounds.

CMCIA intends to request a meeting with the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care, and to provide a submission to the Ministry during the 45 day public consultation period under Ontario's Regulatory Registry.

The new proposed rules are a stunning reversal from the initial proposals announced by the Ontario government in November, 2015. At that time, the government had announced progressive, patient-centric proposals that would have allowed patients to use vaporized medical cannabis in locations where the smoking of tobacco is prohibited.

"I am shocked that the Ontario government has produced such ill-considered proposals," said Colette Rivet, Executive Director of CMCIA. "The new proposed rules show no respect for patients' interests and rights. And the very idea of equating cannabis vapour with hazardous tobacco smoke has no scientific basis. It is critical that the Ontario government understand patients' needs, and alter these proposals before they become law. CMCIA intends to respond quickly to help educate the government on the science of vaporized cannabis, as well as the realities of how patients use their medicine."

Patients' Use of Medical Cannabis

More than 40,000 Canadian patients have been prescribed medical cannabis by their physicians, and are authorized to use the product under Health Canada's Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations. Patients use medical cannabis to help manage symptoms of illnesses such as multiple sclerosis, nausea caused by cancer chemotherapy, epilepsy, certain anxiety disorders, chronic pain and other conditions.

Some patients, including those who use cannabis to manage pain, nausea and seizures, require regular dosing through the day, in order to keep their symptoms under control. Prohibiting them from using their medicine in public spaces, either enclosed or outdoors, directly interferes with their prescribed medical care and violates their rights.

Vaporization of Medical Cannabis

Vaporization of medical cannabis is in no way comparable to the smoking of tobacco products. A vaporizer does not burn cannabis; no burnt plant material or hazardous particulate matter escapes into the air. Instead, a vaporizer heats cannabis to release the active pharmaceutical ingredients – cannabinoids such as THC and CBD, which have therapeutic effect. What the patient exhales into the air is a small amount of vapour. There is no "secondhand smoke".

About CMCIA

The Canadian Medical Cannabis Industry Association (CMCIA) is Canada's leading member-driven association for Licensed Producers (LPs) of medical cannabis. The Association represent the majority of producers currently licensed under Health Canada's Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR).

CMCIA's mission is to promote national standards and best practices by supporting the development, growth and integrity of the medical cannabis industry. The Association acts as the national voice for Canada's LPs, and serves as a credible and trusted resource on issues related to medical cannabis industry.

The Association shares a philosophy of patient-centric care and improved public health, and is committed to product safety and quality, secure and reliable access for registered patients, and the promotion of the safe and effective use of cannabis for medical purposes. www.cmcia.ca

 

SOURCE Canadian Medical Cannabis Industry Association

For further information: Cam Battley, Chair, Advocacy Committee, CMCIA, cam.battley@cmcia.ca, 905.864.5525


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