When federal legislation passes, allowing the sale and use of recreational cannabis, newly proposed amendments to the Smoke-Free Places Act are set to limit where the drug can be consumed.
The amendments will ban smoking and vaping of all kinds, including cannabis:
- on or within 20 metres of playgrounds located in an outdoor public space
- on or within 20 metres of a publicly owned sport and recreation event or venue, located in an outdoor public space
- on and within nine metres of public trails
- in provincial parks and on provincial beaches, except for within the boundaries of a rented campsite
The new measures beef up existing laws which prohibit smoking in indoor public places, workplaces and outdoor areas such as schools, daycares, bar and restaurant patios, within four metres of an entrance or air intake, as well as inside vehicles when children are present. Cannabis use in vehicles will be prohibited for both drivers and passengers.
Nova Scotia Justice Minister Mark Furey said a survey the department conducted showed strong support for tight regulations on recreational cannabis when the long-restricted substance becomes legal.
“There was a significant percentage – about 73 per cent supported public consumption with some restrictions,” he explained. “So we believe the restrictions that we put in place have achieved that balance.”
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The proposed changes, however, misses the mark for landlords in the province, who have been asking for the ability to alter-leases and restrict cannabis use in their rentals if they so choose.
“It’s important to start off on a right foot and ensure the legislation is effective immediately so landlords can take the appropriate action where they deem required,” explained Kevin Russell, the executive director for the Independent Property Owners Association of Nova Scotia.
“We’re hoping that when the legislation is tabled, the pieces that we feel are missing will be included in the legislation,” he said.
As it stands, any building which allows smoking will permit the use of cannabis in private dwellings once the law is passed. IPOANS has been calling on the province to allow landlords the ability to restrict what is smoked in their buildings, allowing for tobacco smoke and banning the use of cannabis by altering lease agreements.
Russell says although the new amendments don’t address their concerns, he says they’re optimistic the changes they’ve been calling for could still be coming.
“Residents have been complaining to us that marijuana smoke is offensive,” explained Russell. “The government has to put the framework in place to allow landlords the right to choose, and that has to be done in legislation.”
“Whether it’s an amendment to the Residential Tenancy Act with the strengthening of the Smoke-Free Places Act,” he said. “It certainly seems to be going in that direction”