Prohibiting pot use in rentals could hurt opioid harm reduction efforts in Saskatoon

published on July 17, 2018 by Bridget Yard in CBC

Opioid users using medical marijuana as treatment for addiction. No link yet to suggest effectiveness

The executive director of AIDS Saskatoon sees his clients using marijuana as a tool to fight a more harmful addiction to opiates.

Jason Mercredi said he believes in pot as a harm reduction measure. He worries it could become inaccessible to his clients as more and more landlords ban marijuana use from their properties.

Research suggests cannabis use could be therapeutic for opioid users and possibly decrease their opioid use, but researchers admit clinical trials still need to be done.

Mercredi said many of the people who access services at AIDS Saskatoon are opioid users and cannabis use is common among them.

“It’s a form of harm reduction and it’s about to be a legal form of harm reduction, except for people who are in poverty and are renting,” said Mercredi

“It makes it quite difficult to cope with their conditions if they can’t use in public or at home. There’s going to be no smoking bars or anything like that.”

Mainstreet Equity, which owns hundreds of rental units in Saskatoon, has announced plans to ban all types of smoking in its units and on balconies, starting this fall. The ban will extend to medical marijuana.

The Saskatchewan Housing Corporation has issued a similar notice.

The province has also announced there will be no smoking or vaping bars allowed.

“The number of apartments doing the bans make it fairly hard for people who are living in poverty to use, which is quite concerning,” said Mercredi. “It’s only a matter of time before it goes to the courts.”

View the full article