To stop complaints about marijuana legalization in their tracks, this Canadian town is pushing to ban outdoor smoking.
With marijuana legalization imminent, this Canadian town is pushing to ban outdoor smoking. City officials of the town of Hampstead say they plan to ban all forms of smoking in outdoor public places, according to the CBC. Hampstead is on the west end of the island of Montreal, in Quebec.
Bill Steinberg, the mayor of Hampstead, said the ordinance would apply to all outdoor public areas.
“Parks, the streets, the sidewalks — everywhere except private property. You could still smoke on your own lawn in your backyard,” he said.
Smokers would still be able to light up while in their cars, however.
The law covers tobacco and all products that can be smoked. Therefore, the ban applies to cannabis, as well. Electronic cigarettes would still be allowed to be used outside.
The city plans to fine offenders of the ban from $100 to $600.
Canada’s federal government plans to legalize cannabis this year. Mayor Steinberg said the city’s action is due to that impending legislation.
“Pot was what got us thinking about this right now, but it’s really for all types of second-hand smoke,” he said.
Hampstead resident Marge Cracower supports the proposal.
“I think it’s a good idea,” she told reporters. “With the new pot laws that are going to be enacted, people can smoke anywhere they want and you’ve got a lot of young families with young children living here, and just to be smoking pot on the street anywhere is not such a good idea.”
The federal government set July 2018 as a goal for implementing marijuana legalization in Canada. However, according to media reports, that date may be out of reach.
Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor told lawmakers last month that the government will receive approval, or royal assent, in time.
“We still feel very confident that we can meet our goal of July 2018. No one ever said July 1 or I never said July 1. But our goal of meeting July 2018 for me is still very much a realistic goal.”
Critics argue, however, that even if legislation is passed by July, retail sales would not begin until later.
Petitpas Taylor acknowledged creating the infrastructure for legal sales will also take time.
“Once we’ve reached royal assent, there’s going to be a transition period because we have to ensure that provinces and territories have the capacity to get the product into their shops,” she said.
Hampstead’s proposed ordinance would be the strictest anti-smoking law in Canada. It alone would ban smoking on public streets and sidewalks, according to the Canadian Cancer Society. Some people believe the law goes too far.
Riley Gallagher of Hampstead said the ban is “ridiculous.” His landlord doesn’t allow him to smoke in his apartment. Therefore, he smoked outside the building.
“If the sidewalk’s no longer an option, then I’m not really sure where I’m supposed to smoke in that case. I can’t stand in the middle of the street,” he said.
Hampstead will easily adopt its plan to ban smoking outdoors, it seems. Steinberg expects the town council to pass the ordinance by a unanimous vote at its next meeting.
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