WATCH: Island Health will issue tickets to people smoking cannabis in violation of the clean air bylaw. So where can you smoke? Tess van Straaten reports.
Pot smoke is an all-too-common sight in places that have legalized marijuana and many people are worried it will happen here once recreational cannabis is allowed next month.
“I’m quite concerned about it and I have no interest in walking through anyone’s vape of any kind no matter what the substance is,” one Victoria woman told CHEK News.
“I don’t like cigarette smoke and I don’t like marijuana smoke and I don’t want to walk through it,” added another woman.
Victoria was the first city in Canada to ban smoking indoors two decades ago and health officials are also taking a hard line on marijuana smoke.
((Dr. Richard Stanwick Island Health chief medical health officer CANNABIS CLEAN AIR JM 1 21:57)) “There’s well-established cancer-causing agents that are produced by the burning of marijuana,” says Dr. Richard Stanwick, Island Health’s chief medical health officer. “It still contains fine particulate matter which can be damaging to the lungs.”
Smoking cannabis will be banned in all B.C. parks, beaches and playgrounds and landlords and condo boards will also have the right to ban it in their buildings.
The Capital Regional District’s clean air by-law also prohibits any smoking — whether it’s tobacco, cannabis or vapour products — in all public squares, playing fields and within seven metres or 23 feet of bus stops, doorways, windows and air intakes.
“This is a recreational product, people are recreating, and this should not interfere with your enjoyment of the environment or your health,” Dr. Stanwick says.
So where can you smoke in the city outside of private homes or cars? Stanwick says parking lots are a popular spot and people can smoke in cars or private homes.
But lighting up somewhere you shouldn’t could get you a written warning this month and Island Health enforcement officers will be out in full force starting in October, issuing $100 tickets if smoking by-laws aren’t being obeyed.
“We prefer not to punitive but rather educational but if you want to test the system, we will ticket,” says Stanwick. “Signage will be up and if you see someone smoking where they shouldn’t, let them know. Most people will obey the law once they know they can’t smoke there.”
To report violations, you can call 250-360-1450 or email [email protected]