By Cole Parkinson
With recreational cannabis now legal in Canada, the Town of Vauxhall council put a few bylaws in place before the legalization date.
Council had a public hearing during their regular meeting on October 16 to allow the community to voice any concerns about two pertaining bylaws.
Bylaw No. 930-18 Cannabis Consumption and Bylaw No. 931-18 Smoke-Free were both discussed.
Bylaw No. 930-18 states ‘a person must not smoke, vape or consume cannabis in a public place’ in regard to recreational cannabis.
In terms of medical cannabis, the bylaw states in 4.1 ‘a person who is entitled to possess cannabis pursuant to a medical document issued pursuant to the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulation is not subject to this bylaw’, in 4.2 ‘a person referred to in subsection (1) must, on demand of an officer, produce a copy of the person’s medical document’ and in 4.3 ‘a person referred to in subsection (1) is subject to the Smoke Free Bylaw’.
The minimum penalty for smoking, vaping or consuming cannabis in a public place is $50 while the specified penalty is $100. With the RCMP in attendance at the public hearing, administration asked how enforceable the bylaw would be.
“It’s not different from any other bylaw that we enforce in any of our towns or areas of the M.D. Basically because we aren’t out in all places at all times, a lot of the time we will be responding to things after the fact. If we happen to be driving through and we see a contravention of the bylaw, we can certainly deal with it at the time but I believe the rest of the time we will rely on somebody phoning it in and making us aware,” said Sgt. Gord Yetman.
Council also had questions about impaired driving now that marijuana was legal.
Nothing official has been announced but Yetman says there are regulations in place already in terms of impaired driving under the influence of drugs.
“Right now I can’t really comment to that. Basically any conversation regarding traffic enforcement or enforcement of impaired driving to cannabis use, we are handling it with our strategic communications so the RCMP is sending out a unified message. Plans are in place to deal with the enforcement as it relates to impairment by drug and there have been things in place for years that will continue to be employed.”
The Criminal Code of Canada states ‘everyone who commits an offence who has within two hours after ceasing to operate a motor vehicle or vessel or after ceasing to operate or to assist in the operation of an aircraft or of railway equipment or after ceasing to have the care or control of a motor vehicle, vessel, aircraft or railway equipment — (a) a blood drug concentration that is equal to or exceeds the blood drug concentration for the drug that is prescribed by regulation; (b) a blood drug concentration that is equal to or exceeds the blood drug concentration for the drug that is prescribed by regulation and is less than the concentration prescribed for the purposes of paragraph (a).
Or (c) a blood alcohol concentration and a blood drug concentration that is equal to or exceeds the blood alcohol concentration and the blood drug concentration for the drug that are prescribed by regulation for instances where alcohol and that drug are combined.’
Bylaw No. 931-18 states — ‘a person must not smoke or vape – in a public premises, a workplace or a public vehicle, in, on or within five metres of a public library, food bank, playground, sports field or athletic facilities or within five metres of an entrance or exit to a public premises.’
It also states ‘an employer, operator or proprietor must not permit a person to smoke or vape on premises controlled or owned by them where doing so is prohibited by this bylaw.’
People though may use electronic smoking devices to sample products other than tobacco or cannabis prior to purchase.
Penalties for smoking or vaping where prohibited carries a minimum penalty of $50 and a specified penalty of $100.
Permitting a person to smoke or vape where prohibited carries a minimum penalty of $50 and a specified penalty of $200.
Both bylaws had second and third readings passed unanimously by council.