Current trends suggest that the popularity of vaporization as a method of use for medical cannabis will continue to grow, and this has led to both positive and negative policy developments. On the one hand, more and more long and short-term care facilities are accommodating the use of vaporizers by patients on-site by putting in place specially ventilated safe inhalation rooms. However, a lack of understanding of this technology has also led some care facilities and regional governments to ban the use of vaporizers much as they have tobacco smoking.
Recently, Ontario has tabled legislation that would prohibit nearly all vaporizer use in public settings, including outdoor settings where potential risks associated with second-hand exposure are completely unproven and highly unlikely. The Canadian Medical Cannabis Council, a medical cannabis industry organization that represents a number of licensed producers (including Tilray) is encouraging a more evidence-based approach, and has submitted the following recommendation to the Ontario Government as part of their recent consultation process:
- The medical use of vaporizers should not be prohibited in outdoor areas.
- Employers should be allowed to accommodate employees who might have a medical need to vaporize cannabis within their workplace.
- Businesses wishing to accommodate vaporizing by authorized users should be allowed to do so as long as proper ventilation is in place.
- A task force made up of key stakeholders should be struck to develop policies for the medical use of vaporizers in hospitals, healthcare and long-term care facilities.
- Exceptions should be made on the display, sale, and demonstration of how to use vaporizers when intended for medical purposes, particularly those devices that are approved as medical devices in Canada.