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Ontario reconsidering new medical marijuana exemptions

Last Updated Nov 26, 2015 at 4:29 pm EST

A person vapes outside a restaurant. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

TORONTO — Ontario’s Liberal government says it is now reconsidering medical marijuana exemptions to e-cigarette rules that are so new they haven’t even technically come into effect.

The turnaround comes just one day after the exemption for medical marijuana users to a vaporizing law came to light.

“I am aware of the concerns that have been voiced on the posted regulation,” said Associate Health Minister Dipika Damerla in a release. “We will evaluate this feedback and determine if this regulation is the best approach for Ontario. This regulation was based on consultations with the health community and medical marijuana users.”

Damerla says based on feedback such as media reports and online comments, the government will take another look at the exemption.

I want to be clear this regulation applies to the vaping of medical marijuana only,” she said. “We have heard from medical marijuana patient advocacy groups that users of medical marijuana may need to vaporize marijuana in emergency circumstances if they sense a seizure or other symptom of their illness about to occur. The intention of this regulation was to balance users of medical marijuana with establishment owners.”

The Liberal government quietly exempted medical marijuana users this week from a law that bans the use of e-cigarettes anywhere regular cigarettes are prohibited, regulations that are set to come into effect Jan. 1.

The exemption means medical marijuana users could vaporize in restaurants, at work or on playgrounds.

Damerla wouldn’t say if the second look at the exemptions would go beyond Jan. 1.