Marijuana Activist Russell Barth Takes Ottawa Mayor & City To Human Rights Tribunal After Comment – AUG 25, 2015

russell barth 2013

CORNWALL Ontario – Ottawa Medical Marijuana user and advocate Russell Barth issued a release today after his complaint about comments made by Mayor Jim Watson were made public last April.   The Mayor refused to apologize for a comment that Mr. Barth feels was discriminatory.

In the release below Mr. Barth is asking for $10,000,000.00 ($250 per user in Canada) for the Mayor’s comment.


On May 20, 2015, medical marijuana user and long-time advocate Russell Barth filed a complaint with the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal against Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson and the city. The complaint comes after Watson made no response to Barth’s May 11th request for an apology for his April 29th comments, which Barth and his wife Christine Lowe consider discriminatory.

On the 29th of April, when asked his opinion about medical marijuana users having a place to congregate, the mayor said:

“If someone has a medical licence for marijuana, then please go and use that product on your property in your own house, but please don’t bring it in an establishment where other people can be affected by the second-hand smoke.”

“To us, the Mayor basically told over 40,000 Canadians – many of the veterans – to just stay home.” said Barth.

“That they are not welcome in polite society or in this city. This ads to the stigma that marijuana users face daily in this country. For the Mayor of the nation’s capital to stigmatize people like this is beyond unacceptable.” Barth emailed the Mayor’s office on May 11th, and followed up with a call on May 12th, giving Watson until May 15th to issue a public apology.

“He didn’t have to name anyone specific,” said Barth. “He just needed to issue a public statement retracting the comments and apologizing for them.” Barth has named the Mayor and the City Of Ottawa in the complaint, and is seeking $10 million as a remedy, which would be split up amongst the approximately 40,000 licensed medical marijuana users across Canada – about $250 per person. The Mayor and city are ordered to respond to the complaint by Sept. 23, 2015.

CFN contacted City Hall in Ottawa today and the Mayor’s spokesperson, Brook Simpson issued a statement of “No Comment”.

Ironically Mayor Watson is identified as a Liberal and Justin Trudeau has stated the party would legalize Marijuana.

This incident stems from when the BUZZ ON Vape Lounge opened in Ottawa.

Ottawa Citizen LINK

“So if we’re cracking down on people smoking illegally on a patio — which I support — you shouldn’t allow it in a restaurant,” said Watson, although Buzz On does not appear to be a restaurant. “If someone has a medical licence for marijuana, then please go and use that product on your property in your own house, but please don’t bring it in an establishment where other people can be affected by the second-hand smoke.”

What do you think dear CFN users?   Will the Mayor & Ottawa have to cough up the cash to Medical Marijuana users across Canada?  You can post your comment below.


  1. I generally agree with Russell Barth most of the time, but this seems a bit far-fetched.

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  3. The Prophet of Pot has been toking up again. And the great oracle of Pot has revealed to him, of all the great injustices of our society, medical marijuana is at the top. The Solution – “Mr. Barth is asking for $10,000,000.00 ($250 per user in Canada)”.

    Oh, Prophet of Pot have ye not read -“The love of money causes all kinds of trouble. Some people want money so much that they have given up their faith and caused themselves a lot of pain”(1Ti 6:10).

  4. Is it just me or are we becoming more like the U.S.A……lawsuit crazy??

  5. Good stuff! Human rights issues are a great way to redress problems like this. The mayor was clearly out of line and if nothing else needs the education that a protracted HR hearing will entail.

  6. You’d have to be high to think this frivolous lawsuit has any chance of success. The mayor was 100% correct. If you let the potheads smoke in public places the cigarette smokers will be right behind them. Society is moving in a different direction.

  7. This society is gone to “POT” and gone to hell in a hand basket. I stand up firmly with Mayor Watson and like the man very much. Our friends here in Ottawa have voted for Mayor Watson and they all said that he is a good man. I would love to do away with all drug users of all kinds – they are the useless eaters and the useless idles of the country and the world. I will never forget one of the students in my class who couldn’t stay awake for long with all the marijuana that he took. All these people are nothing but useless bums. Medical marijuana what a joke – that is just an excuse to use drugs.

  8. Does anyone reading this understand why compassion centres, cannabis dispensaries and vapour lounges are not being shut down except in very specific instances? Medical cannabis falls under the jurisdiction of Health Canada, a government department. As such our charter grants/guarantees the right to reasonable access to medicine. The police do not shut down these facilities unless other laws are being broken. The very act of shutting them down simply because they exist is a breach of your rights as a Canadian citizen.

    Ask a police officer or better yet contact the RCMP for verification of this basic fact.

    After review the tribunal has determined that a human rights violation has validity and has agreed to move forward. So this is no joke. Watson as a result of his ignorance in these matters has put himself in the spotlight. Sad that a very seasoned former Liberal politician apparently has such little regard for the rights of its citizens.

    Also sad that so many people are so uniformed when it comes to their rights and the rights of others. Sad as well that despite being given the opportunity Watson refused to offer an apology. If Watson has cost the taxpayers of Ottawa millions then more that one apology is required and he will own it.

  9. @jules I have met many hard working Canadians who are employed full time and use medical cannabis. It is unfortunate that you knew a “pot” smoker that was an abuser. There are probably many “drug users”(crack, fentanyl, ecstasy, mdma) in this country that are bums, thieves and abusers but I can bet that they are NOT medical cannabis patients.
    I’m pretty sure the Mayor’s comment was a step out of line, a simple statement of apology or clarification would have made this whole thing go away.

  10. Watson’s words weren’t very diplomatic or well chosen, but he has a valid point. People who smoke the weed for whatever reason shouldn’t have the right to do it where the smoke will be ingested by others in a public place. Same as tobacco smokers. The drug can be taken in pill (or brownie) form successfully without polluting the air other people are breathing.

  11. The alternate methods of delivery, essentially ingesting rather than inhaling only became legal after a supreme court challenge which ruled 7-0 in favour. Licensed producers are now advertising aggressively to hire and produce the now legal alternative to smoking. Health Canada’s minister despite the recent ruling remains against the concept of any alternative other than inhalation of dried cannabis. A vapour lounge is not a place designed for any other purpose other than a setting where people legally entitled to use medicinal cannabis may do so. It is by membership and no one who is not eligible or otherwise is being forced to subject themselves to its environment. Outside in the open air a medicinal cannabis patient enjoys the same rights as any other individual. Smoking has not been banned everywhere, yet. Additionally vaporizing has been proven not to pose any risk, it is not second hand smoke, it is harmless vapor. Cannabis patients are duly licensed by Health Canada and as such enjoy the same rights and freedoms as any other individual requiring medication. Our courts have simply upheld this basic right.

    Personally I am much more concerned about our social welfare system failing to protect our basic rights. In Toronto welfare housing exists where only Muslims may live. If you are non Muslim you may not obtain available affordable housing because of your religious beliefs. This is currently in the news and I believe that we all should be very concerned about the discrimination that welfare recipients are being subjected to. This is only a current version of the back of the bus mentality.

    Medically approved cannabis use is the least of our current challenges in my opinion. We have much bigger fish to fry.

  12. Furtz there is a place somewhere on Bank Street and I don’t know where it is but it is like a type of café where the patrons use marijuana and the cops are usually around that place. When I looked closely at the picture of Mayor Watson I could see that he is on Bank Street and I tried to see near what other street and couldn’t see it. By the big building in the bankground it must be between Laurier all the way up near Parliament Hill. Well those on Parliament Hill ar mighty wacky and maybe the smoke from hash is getting them even more wacky than ever especially now as elections are approaching. I support Mayor Watson 100% all the way. When my husband worked taxi some of the drivers were on that drug and one who is now deceased “Freddie – real name Farid” was always on that drug and one day he lost control of his vehicle and landed up on the meridian. There was one man among them who sold “Lebanese gold” and was caught raping women passengers and was going to be jailed but managed to escape back to Lebanon. When we came back to Ottawa I was so relieved and happy to hear that he left and he owns all kinds of motels in his village in Lebanon because he was also bringing the drugs through to Canada. Furtz too much smoking of the ddrug destroys the brain cells. Here in Ottawa people are not allowed to smoke near the bus shelters nor near some businesses so if ordinary cigarettes are banned from doing so it would be most crutial to not allow POT around other people.

  13. Interesting social observation that people would be critical of legally licensed individuals (medicinal cannabis) but completely okay with a needle exchange program (for illegal drug use) and the concept of a safe injection site where health officials oversee the use of illegal drugs and arguably assist the user in committing a prolonged form of suicide or euthanasia.

    Jules the lounge first opened in Ottawa is in Vanier. It is to reopen shortly after undergoing upgrades required by the city. Currently, to the best of my knowledge, there are no existing by-laws or requirements as this type of business has yet to be recognized. The city came at the business from a different position for the mayor to make his annoyance and position felt.

    Rather than look to the model of co-operation that exists in Vancouver and Toronto the mayor took a 180, rebuffed the Liberal position and attitude towards legalization and simply, it would appear, made it personal. Hence the city and taxpayers are facing an uphill battle with the Human Rights Commission as other jurisdictions have observed the charter rights of the individuals involved. Failing to apologize was likely not Watson’s best decision as Mayor of Ottawa. With the public having lost the appetite in giving people criminal records for personal use of cannabis and the growth industry and resultant taxation that it represents Watson sets himself up as stuck in the “Reefer Madness” era.

    Will be interesting to watch this play out as it now focuses the world on the capital of our nation.

  14. Jules I have no knowledge of your claim that “pot” destroys brain cells. I do understand that alcohol definitely does destroy brains cells, relationships etc. etc. Alcohol is legal, controlled by the government and easily accessible to any person of the required age. As a result of our permission attitudes towards alcohol it is also easily available to under age individuals. Teen alcohol abuse is a real problem and has been my entire life. I find it rather hypocritical of people who accept alcohol use but maintain that “pot” use is a criminal act, end of story.

    I have stated my position before. We have bigger fish to fry in this country of ours. We need to focus on the issues that are retarding our ability to progress as a nation united and strong. That is my opinion.

  15. Jingle Jay I have known a dealer who used to live here in Ottawa and did another crime and fled back to Lebanon. This man dealt with “Lebanese gold – aka hashish” and was let through by the Canadian authorities. This man got caught for another crime and left because he would have gone to jail. When we came back to live in Ottawa we were so relieved to hear that he left and with his wife and kids. I knew him through my husband because they worked taxi together and one day I kept his little kids while my husband, the man in question and his wife went out to a farm and killed a lamb and we had meat for months on end. You would never believe who was smoking up the hash with those people and believe me when I said before that I had no respect for the law I meant it. I could tell all of you plenty but Jamie would not let it go through – 90 to 95% does not go through. Shucks! Rats!

    Mr. Oldham both marijuana as well as liquor/beer are a big problem and always were. When we first came to Ottawa back in 1975 and we lived in a dump on Cooper St. at Bay St. downtown we saw plenty of alcoholics who drank aftershave, vanilla and other stuff when they didn’t have money for booze. We have seen so much here and now it is the gangs shooting and knifing and so much so that there is hardldy a good place to live in town. Yes alcohol and marijuana were a problem since the 60’s when I was a teenager and I remember people going over to Massena NY to drink and party because they were under age in Canada. Booze itself was a big problem even during the days of my much older sisters who were of the 1930’s and 40’s generation of young people and there were plenty of fights on the dance floors from what they spoke about in their day. Drugs were not the problem for their generation and only came out in the 60’s era with the hippies. There are plenty of hard drugs here in Ottawa. Speaking about hard drugs and places where they exchange needles, etc. there is this lab that my daughter goes to very rare downtown when she has to get blood tests for her thyroid condition and they do needle exchange there for those on the drugs. We have seen this with out own eyes and a very young girl all tatooed getting clean needles. Ottawa has a huge drug problem.

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