Through a unanimous vote, Westmount became one of several cities in Canada to effectively ban the smoking of cannabis in parks and green spaces. According to Top Shelf BC, The legalization of smoking recreational cannabis in Canada was made effective in October. However, lawmakers in Westmount have gone a step further to ensure that cannabis will not be smoked in public areas.
Reasons for ban
Westmount Mayor Christina Smith said that though there was a law allowing people to smoke recreational cannabis in Canada, they thought it was best to prohibit people from smoking in parks. She said it was because people came to relax and enjoy themselves with their families, and it would not be reasonable to promote it among kids. She also noted that it was also appropriate to ban smoking in light of other leisure activities in parks.
Origins of the ban
In 2015, smoking was banned in some public outdoor areas, particularly in playing grounds and sporting fields. During the that time, the initial reason was that it would protect people from the secondary effects of smoking in shared places. The new law introduced was a slight modification of the law, covering more people within Westmount.
Other products being banned as a result of the law
As a result of the law introduced in Westmount, other recreational substances have also been banned from being used in parks and green spaces. The products include;
- Electronic cigarettes.
Initially, before the law was introduced, smoking was banned. However, it only covered a small area since people were prohibited from smoking nine meters from sporting fields and any playgrounds within Westmount. The ban was hard to implement hence the need for enhancing the law.
Reactions to the ban
The ban was not well received by some people, especially those who advocated for people to smoke it anywhere under the legalization of cannabis in Canada.
Erin Prosk, the president of an organization called Sante Cannabis, argued that people were allowed to smoke, especially those who had medical conditions. He said that people who had medical symptoms such as nausea were to smoke anywhere and anywhere to cater for their medical problems.
Citizen reactions to the ban
Some of the Westmount citizens were not pleased that the ban came into effect without further consultations, especially health. They argued that medical professionals were to be consulted before the ban was implemented on everyone.
They requested some places to be created within the parks where someone with health problems could smoke in case of sudden nausea attacks. Some also praised the ban saying it would protect people from the effects of smoking while enjoying themselves out in the parks.
Consequences of violating the ban
According to the law, people who are to be caught smoking in parks and green spaces are fined between $50 and $1000, especially under the first conviction laws.
Implementation of the ban
Westmount’s mayor said that the ban would be implemented by the public security officers who would work with SPVM to make sure no person would smoke in the parks or green spaces.
The ban on smoking in parks and green spaces would keep people safe from secondary smoking effects, and people in Westmount would enjoy themselves in those areas.