British Columbians’ top concern is second-hand smoke ahead of pot legalization, survey shows

British Columbians' top concern is second-hand smoke ahead of pot legalization, survey shows

WATCH: Second-hand smoke is the biggest concern for British Columbians when it comes to pot regulations. That’s what the province found as it nears the end of its public consultation. Isabelle Rasghem reports.

Someone smoking pot nearby is hard to miss.

“Cannabis has quite an odour and it’s quite pervasive, it gets everywhere,” says the owner of Victoria’s The Green Ceiling Lounge, Ashley Abraham.

Abraham says that’s one of the many reasons why the lounge was created over a year ago.

“Not every cannabis user wants their entire house smelling like [marijuana] for whatever reason it could be spouses, it could be children, neighbours.”

But according to a B.C. public consultation, it’s not necessarily the smell that worries British Columbians but the smoke itself.

The government launched public consultations late last month as it moves to regulate weed. Out of the 30,000 responses they’ve gotten so far, the top concern is second-hand smoke.

“People have very strong views, particularly when it impacts their private space, such as their condo unit for example or their backyard or whatever,” said B.C. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth Wednesday.

“You can certainly absorb the active ingredient of marijuana if you are around a smoker, as well as some of the cancer-causing agents,” said Dr. Stanwick, Island Health’s Medical Health Officer.

Dr. Stanwick says more research is needed and the worry is warranted.

“In fact for a short period of time, it may indeed exceed the levels that would be considered an issue if you stopped by law enforcement immediately thereafter.”

Back in 1999, Dr. Stanwick lead the smoking tobacco ban from bars and restaurants in the capital region. It was the first municipality in the country to do so.

He was also crucial to move for smoke-free public spaces. He hopes the province learns from tobacco and regulates smoking pot the same way.

“Rather than saying let’s wait until we have the evidence and then have the difficulty of convincing people we need to include marijuana smoke with tobacco smoke.”

Back at The Green Ceiling Lounge, Abraham says worries over second-hand smoke only reenforces the need for spaces like hers.

“Anybody that’s gonna be in this space is going to be responsive to the smell and the odour and I think that it removes a lot of that concern.”

The public consultation periods ends Nov. 1.



Isabelle RaghemIsabelle Raghem

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