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Toronto v. Cannabis

medical-marijuana-at-workDispensaries are currently undergoing a series of raids as TPF personnel are cracking down on store fronts and businesses that are working outside the law. The surge in organizations selling cannabis and cannabis products might well be egged on by the looming eventuality that cannabis will either become decriminalized or legalized in the near future. Regardless of why, there is still a requirement for those who use pot as medication to apply with the appropriate authorities so that they can legally acquire it as a medicine, not as a recreational drug. At this time there is still a lot of discussion about how to undergo the development of a potential marijuana policy and the question is still up in the air as to how interpret cannabis as an accommodation.

The ability to grow cannabis from seeds was a program that Canada endorsed until recently and the only way to obtain it for medical use is to go through a licensed producer. The organization that are being raided this week are not licensed producers and while cannabis can be purchased over the counter, to do so is still considered illegal. There have been encouraging nudges from U.S states that have legalized it which gives credence to the progress towards possible legalization here in Canada. But, the fact remains that unless a person has received permission from the Canadian Government, and uses cannabis products as medicine, it is still not legal to buy on the street and it cannot be viewed as an accommodation.

I don’t mean to burst anyone’s bubble here because it is very exciting that we are now starting to see the possibility of having cannabis legalized in this country. I would, however, advise restraint and postpone the dusting off of phish albums until we know for sure and are supplied with an adequate framework with which to implement cannabis use beyond medicinal purposes. Even at that point the idea of cannabis use as accommodation will most definitely be an ongoing discussion between an employee and their employer.

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Christopher Lytle MA CDS

Principle Consultant and Owner at Christopher Lytle Consulting (CLC)
Christopher Lytle MA CDS, is the principle consultant and owner of Christopher Lytle Consulting (CLC). CLC consults on human rights and helps organizations incorporate requirements for the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). Christopher has been involved with disability and human rights issues for ten years. During this time he has participated in the drafting of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and has been involved in its subsequent promotion and implementation in Canada as well as several countries in Africa, Central America, Asia and Europe. He has held a seat on the board of directors for the Canadian Council for International Cooperation (CCIC) as a representative of theCouncil of Canadians with Disabilities' (CCD) International Human Rights Committee and hehas spearheaded numerous capacity building projects with the purpose of promoting human rights, equality and accessibility. Read more
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