Du­elling rights

Tri-County Vanguard - - OPINION -

It’s prob­a­bly the first case of many. In the new age of le­gal­ized cannabis, there are go­ing to be plenty of con­flicts be­tween those who do use mar­i­juana, and those who don’t.

The le­gal­iza­tion date of Oct. 17 is fast ap­proach­ing, and for some, how le­gal cannabis use is ap­proached can be a mat­ter of life and death.

Take this case: Adele Schroder lives in a con­do­minium in Mis­sis­sauga, Ont. She has a po­ten­tially deadly al­lergy to cannabis, and, as she pointed out to the CBC, she’s sud­denly find­ing life in her build­ing more risky: “Now that it’s be­com­ing le­gal it’s leak­ing into the hall­ways, get­ting into the ven­ti­la­tion sys­tem. I can’t con­trol my en­vi­ron­ment.”

The big­ger prob­lem for Schroder clearly comes with October’s le­gal­iza­tion.

The con­do­minium board for her build­ing is look­ing into ban­ning smok­ing and grow­ing cannabis, and then an­other issue raised its head: that a num­ber of res­i­dents in the build­ing are med­i­cal mar­i­juana users, and the board could be af­fect­ing their hu­man rights if it tried to ban cannabis use. (To make mat­ters worse, an in­jury from an au­to­mo­bile ac­ci­dent has meant that Schroder doesn’t have the fi­nan­cial means to sell her condo and buy a new one, even if she wanted to.)

That means the whole thing comes down to du­elling sets of hu­man rights: what hap­pens when one condo owner’s right to safely en­joy her home comes up against the rights of other to use a med­i­cal prod­uct that’s been pre­scribed to them?

The an­swer seems sim­ple enough from a com­mon sense point of view; the ar­gu­ment prob­a­bly should come down to the ac­tive ver­sus the pas­sive.

What does that mean?

Well, that those who do use mar­i­juana — even those who use it medic­i­nally — should be re­spon­si­ble for mit­i­gat­ing the im­pacts cre­ated by their own con­sump­tion.

Schroder doesn’t get that choice. She’s not do­ing any­thing, other than liv­ing in her own con­do­minium. Her ac­tions are not im­pos­ing on oth­ers; her ac­tions do not im­pact them di­rectly, the way mar­i­juana use by oth­ers would af­fect her.

It’s par­tic­u­larly com­pli­cated be­cause con­do­minium rules and reg­u­la­tions, by and large, have been drawn up long be­fore le­gal­iza­tion was con­tem­plated.

All in all, it’s turned into a fas­ci­nat­ing ride for the con­do­minium board, which is now try­ing to find a so­lu­tion that works for ev­ery­one.

One thing the whole saga il­lus­trates, though, is the huge sea change that le­gal­iz­ing cannabis cre­ates. There are go­ing to be col­li­sions be­tween neigh­bours and friends and their hu­man rights that have prob­a­bly not even been con­sid­ered yet.

“I re­ally love the com­mu­nity I’m in. I don’t want to limit what peo­ple are do­ing in their own homes,” Schroder told the CBC. “It’s re­ally stress­ful.”

In­deed.

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