Pubdate: Tue, 07 Nov 2017
Source: Western Star, The (CN NF)
Copyright: 2017 The Western Star
Page: 4


Think about it not as marijuana, but as smoke - and then think about
just how complicated the federal, provincial and municipal regulation
of the drug will be. Consider this admittedly ludicrous example: say
you were in Vancouver, you were having company in and wanted to show
off to your guests by burning a big batt of weed in your old-style
fireplace. Once the stuff is legal, you can do what you like, right?

Well, maybe not - and not because it's weed, but because it makes
smoke, and that smoke could threaten air quality.

Vancouver is looking at requiring those who use stoves and fireplaces
to move to more expensive, higher efficiency woodstoves and fireplaces.

It's just one part of the complexity of bringing a new product into a
legislative framework - one where, keep in mind, smokeable products
are already highly regulated.

Municipalities are waiting for provinces to bring down rules on
marijuana use and sales to decide things like municipal zoning
regulations. At least one province, Ontario, has already launched its
provincial law regulating use of the drug, and has run into some
interesting issues. The province will handle the distribution of the
drug, and will bring into effect a regulatory regime that will slap
illegal private dispensaries with massive fines. Corporations could be
fined $1 million, while individuals could face $100,000 fines.

Even more challenging is where you'll be allowed to smoke: the Ontario
law is proposing that adults will only be allowed to smoke marijuana
in their own homes.

Existing law for cigarette smoking in Ontario blocks smoking in common
areas of apartment buildings, and you can appeal to the province's
residential tenancies board if a neighbour's smoking is affecting your
quality of life. In some cases, a tenant can be evicted for failing to
address second-hand smoke concerns.

But the proposed marijuana law gives people precious few options of
places to smoke other than their home or apartment.

On the one hand, you could argue the Ontario law unfairly does through
the back door what federal law was already doing through the front:
make it difficult to smoke weed legally by allowing people to smoke,
but then fencing them in with rules.

P.E.I. is moving through the public consultation process to address
the problems that the smoking of marijuana creates. Nova Scotia is, as
well. Both point out that at their level of jurisdiction, the main
issues are rules around public consumption and health.

In Newfoundland and Labrador, a government survey to be used in
drafting laws pointed out that 87 per cent of respondents wanted
restrictions on weed use similar to those placed on tobacco.

It's the kind of complications that would make a legislator's head
spin. And every day, the time left to put laws in place shrinks.
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MAP posted-by: Matt