Second-Hand Cannabis Smoke A Big Concern For British Columbians (Really)

Smelling cannabis in the streets is certainly nothing new in British Columbia, but many residents of the Canadian province – famous (or infamous, depending on who you ask) for its laissez-faire attitude about cannabis prohibition – are expressing concerns about second-hand smoke once nationwide cannabis legalization rolls out next summer.

The B.C. government is almost through with its public consultation on cannabis regulation, and B.C. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth says second-hand smoke has come out as a top concern.

"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 Farnworth.

"It's one that was fully anticipated as an issue, so I expect, in fact I know, it will be dealt with in the new regulatory framework."

Some B.C. residents are hoping provincial lawmakers tackle second-hand cannabis smoke in a more robust way than the government has done with tobacco smoke. Legislation passed in 2008 prohibited smoking in common areas of apartments and condo buildings, but those rules don’t apply inside units.

Jack Boomer, director of the Clean Air Coalition of B.C., told CBC News his group routinely receives complaints about apartments and condos concerning both cannabis and tobacco smoke. While people are free to lodge complaints if smoke in a neighbouring unit is disrupting their “quiet enjoyment” of their own unit, how those complaints get handled varies.

"One of the things that we would encourage the provincial government [to do] is actually amend the residential tenancy laws so they actually reflect the fact that quiet enjoyment includes tobacco smoke and cannabis smoke," Boomer said, adding that another option would be requiring realtors or landlords to disclose which units have no-smoking clauses prior to renting them out.   

The B.C. government has collected more than 30,000 responses to public cannabis consultations so far. The consultation period ends Nov. 1.

h/t CBC News  


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