Cannabis is legal but smoking everywhere is not

Cannabis is legal but smoking everywhere is not and residents are asked to be aware and respectful before lighting up.

Residents of Ontario, aged 19 and over, are now legally able to buy, consume and grow cannabis, but there are restrictions on where smoking and vaping cannabis is allowed.

The provincial government has decreed that cannabis smoking is allowed anywhere that tobacco smoking is permitted (as per the Smoke-Free Ontario Act), except by anyone (driver or passenger) in a vehicle or boat regardless of whether it is in motion or not.

Cannabis can be smoked or vaped in locations, including private residences (although this can be limited by landlords and condo corporations), controlled areas in certain hospices and retirement homes, designated guest rooms in hotels/motels/inns and some outdoor public places.

Broadly speaking, places where smoking of any kind is not permitted include: workplaces; playgrounds, school grounds and sports fields (and public areas within 20 metres of these spaces); child care centres and early years centres (including home daycares, even when there are no children present); public buildings, including libraries, leisure centres, municipal offices and their grounds; schools and universities; bars and restaurants (including patios and within nine metres of patios and public areas); any type of hospital, hospice, health care facility or retirement home, or within nine metres of the entrance/exit of these facilities, or on their outdoor grounds (unless in a designated controlled area); in sheltered outdoor areas with a roof and more than two walls, such as bus shelters.

While it is currently legal to smoke in many public spaces, Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury officials hope that consideration will be given to non-smokers when deciding whether or not it is a good time and place to smoke cannabis.

“We’d like to encourage smokers to be mindful of the people around them who may be affected by secondhand smoke,” says Brent Lee, enforcement manager. “While the public may not have legal recourse against someone smoking cannabis in a permitted location, we hope that smokers will be respectful of requests not to smoke near them, particularly if children are nearby.”

Smoking or vaping cannabis outside of permitted areas is an offence under the Smoke Free Ontario Act.

Cannabis edibles are still illegal in Canada. The online Ontario Cannabis Store is the only place to legally purchase cannabis in Ontario and the provincial government says that will be the case until, at least, April 2019. Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury officials anticipate making a decision by January as to whether or not allow retail cannabis stores within the municipality once they are legal.

Chase Fade photo

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