Montreal-area cities ban tobacco and cannabis in public parks, green spaces
Published Sunday, September 16, 2018 1:09PM EDT
Last Updated Monday, September 17, 2018 8:36AM EDT
Westmount is the latest city to ban smoking in public parks and greenspaces – after a unanimous vote.
A few towns and boroughs in the Montreal area have already done the same in anticipation of the legalization of marijuana in mid-October.
Now, no one is allowed to smoke in Westmount’s parks or other green spaces,
“With the legalization of marijuana, we sort of had a global approach to this, and we thought it was time and completely reasonable to stop, and to ban, smoking in parks and green spaces,” explained Westmount Mayor Christina Smith.
Before the change, smoking was allowed nine meters away from any playground or building – a rule that was difficult to enforce.
This one, Smith says, will be easier.
“Working with the SPVM and our public security officers, we felt like this was a very reasonable approach,” she added. “A lot of other municipalities and boroughs are taking a similar approach.”
Earlier this year, Hampstead took the ban a step further: no smoking at all in any public places, including sidewalks and streets.
Sante Cannabis prescribes medical marijuana for thousands of people in the Montreal area. It says many of their patients need to smoke, and they should have the right to do it where and when they need to.
“Inhalation is required for patients who have acute symptoms – nausea, or acute pain – and that can come on at any time. So they need to be accommodated,” explained Erin Prosk, President of Sante Cannabis,
Prosk says municipalities should consult with medical users before banning smoking for everyone.
“We need to have areas where they are permitted to use cannabis, otherwise we are isolating people to their own home,” she said. “We additionally have the issue where some condo buildings will also prohibit the use of cannabis inside.”
“We don’t have an exception for that specifically, and obviously this doesn’t impact them in their home – and we have no intention on that,” Smith said. “But we would say in a park that this is how we’re going to address it.”
Town of Mount Royal is expected to vote on its new smoking by-law on Monday.
If passed, smoking will be banned in its parks too.