Recreational marijuana shouldn’t keep you stuck at home

Legalizing marijuana has been a priority for the current federal government, and it seems likely that we’ll all be legally allowed to spark up for Canada Day 2018. What hasn’t been solved yet though is just where you’ll be able to enjoy that celebratory hit. It should be anywhere you can smoke cigarettes, but that doesn’t seem to be the plan.

There’s a long list of places you can’t legally smoke anything, including patios, some outdoor parks, and in enclosed public spaces. This list also makes it against the law to smoke in cars with children under 16. Basically you can smoke in your home, as long as you don’t live in a non-smoking building, and most outdoor public places.

Ontario’s proposed plan for use of legalized marijuana would allow you to only use it in a private residence, and only if you have the option to smoke in your residence. There isn’t yet a solid plan on where the public will be able to use marijuana once it becomes legalized, but some of the places we can draw ideas from don’t have it figured out yet, either. Some places in Colorado offer lounges or busses where groups can smoke weed, but some of those locations have also been raided by police.

Once marijuana is legalized, it’s legal, and we need to accept that. While this shouldn’t lead to a wholescale loosening of general smoking laws, marijuana shouldn’t be unfairly constrained simply because of its past. If we as a nation decide that smoking weed is a legal pastime then it should be held only to the same standards as other smoking—to do anything less would be to deny its legal status.

And what about those who will or currently use marijuana for medicinal reasons? We shouldn’t force someone to take their medicine in private simply because it has to be smoked. It’s reasonable to ask that they smoke outdoors, but not that they put their life on hold so they can retreat to their home to take their medicine and improve their quality of life.

Once marijuana is legal it should be treated the same as cigarettes, not given preferential treatment or penalized. People who want to smoke pot should be able to do so anywhere they can smoke tobacco, if for no other reason than there isn’t a good argument to not do so. If the government’s smart then you’ll be able to enjoy Canada Day 2018 smoking legally, anywhere you can smoke cigarettes.