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Poll: Should provinces allow public spaces to smoke marijuana?

Poll: A spot to smoke pot

At Behind the Bend café, diners sitting by a fire pit nibble on charcuterie and enjoy vanilla bean ice cream served in pineapple boats, but the menu isn't the reason many flock to the Lambton Shores, Ont., spot.

Customers visit because the café about an hour's drive from London allows them to consume cannabis as long as they are 19 or older and they bring their own legal pot and its receipt.

No province nor territory allows cannabis consumption lounges or cafés yet, but the Bend's owner bounded ahead with her business because customers were being chided when they used pot in public.

"I've just been trying to support my clients and provide them with a space that is safe, so they're not going to feel like they're going to get in trouble or get hassled," said Laura Bradley, who also owns a neighbouring cannabis store.

Her patio — and similar ventures that have sprang up in recent months — are a sign of a frustrated cannabis industry that has long awaited regulations allowing consumption spaces, but has instead seen little progress and a health crisis extinguish hopes that such laws are nearing.

Ontario looked like it would be the first to allow cannabis consumption spaces, when it solicited feedback from the public before the COVID-19 pandemic.

The deadline for that feedback passed more than a year ago, but a press secretary for attorney general Doug Downey said in an email this month that, "No changes to the cannabis framework are expected at this time nor is there a current time frame for any additional changes."

The outlook is similar in other corners of the country. Most provinces and territories told The Canadian Press public consumption spaces are prohibited and many added they are not even under consideration.

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