CRD considers adding vaping and cannabis to Clean Air Bylaw


WATCH: Smoking cannabis and vaping may soon be banned from almost all public places in Greater Victoria. The Capital Regional District is looking at amending their Clean Air Bylaw that bans tobacco smoking to now include burning or vaping of any substances. Isabelle Raghem reports. 

Victoria’s Nick Bourret smokes marijuana daily to help with his anxiety.

“If I’m not smoking, I can’t get anything done,” says the Leaf Compassion Dispensary employee.

But just a few months away from legalization of cannabis, Bourret and other smokers may soon face another challenge: where to light up?

“They don’t want smoke lounges, we can’t smoke in dispensaries, their taking away edibles so people can’t self-medicate without smoking either,” adds Bourret.

The Capital Regional District (CRD) will be voting Wednesday on a proposed amendment to their Clean Air Bylaw to include vaping and cannabis.

“I think it’s a logical extension of the law that’s already in place,” says Ken Williams, CRD Planning and Protective Services Committee Chair.

The proposal will be presented by the Island’s top medical officer, Dr. Richard Stanwick, who is fighting to protecting the public from second-hand smoke.

“You can certainly absorb the active ingredients of marijuana if you’re around a smoker as well as some of the cancer-causing agents,” said Dr. Stanwick in October 2017.

If approved, it would be illegal to smoke or vape in all parks, playgrounds, public squares and at bus stops. There would also be a buffer zone around doorways and windows of seven metres.

“You gotta permit somewhere where we can medicate,” says Bourret.

E-Clectic Vape shop owner Rina Goth doesn’t think vaping should be grouped with smoking at all.

“They see the vapour coming out of the mouths [and] they think it’s like a cigarette and it’s not, it’s just a water vapour.”

Goth adds that unlike smoking cigarettes or marijuana, vaporizers release fruity smells. She also says many of her customers vape to quit cigarettes.

“They come in here,  two packs a day smoker and then they turn to vaping and within three years they’ve completely stopped both.”

The CRD’s Protective Services Committee will vote on the amendment Wednesday morning. Then, both the board and the province will have to approve it.

Isabelle RaghemIsabelle Raghem

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