Markham passes bylaw restricting consumption of cannabis to private residences
Chris Fox, CP24.com
Published Tuesday, October 16, 2018 1:37PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, October 17, 2018 2:49PM EDT
Cannabis will become legal at the stroke of midnight but residents in at least one Greater Toronto Area community will face strict conditions on where they can light up.
At a special meeting on Tuesday morning, Markham city council voted unanimously 11-0 in favour of a new bylaw that restricts the consumption of cannabis to “private residences.”
The bylaw effectively replaces a portion of provincial legislation which permits the consumption of cannabis wherever smoking is allowed, with the exception of motor vehicles and boats.
“We have been hearing a lot of feedback over the last few weeks in relation to the way it was going to work and our council this morning, I applaud them. I think it reflects the communities’ interest at large,” Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti told CP24 following the vote. “It has been clear from our residents that they weren’t happy with the new rules so we passed this bylaw in response to that.”
The previous Liberal government had intended to prohibit the consumption of cannabis on all public property but the Progressive Conservative government backtracked on that, introducing legislation which mirrored the Smoke-Free Ontario Act.
Exceptions were, however, introduced to ban the use of cannabis in motor vehicles, on boats and with 20 metres of any publicly-owned sport fields.
“There is still a lot of opinions on the legalization of cannabis to begin with but when this proposal came through we started hearing a lot of concerns about people just taking a walk down the street with their elderly parents or going to Markville mall and having to load up the kids while someone is beside them smoking cannabis,” Scarpitti said.
The provincial government has said that municipalities are free to pass bylaws further restricting where cannabis can be consumed, though Markham is the only GTA city to do so at this point.