UBCM supports home grows, wants to look into possibility of smoking lounges
The Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UCBM) says they see no problem with home grown cannabis, want to see the public consumption of cannabis treated the same as...
By David Brown
December 7, 2017
The Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UCBM) says they see no problem with home grown cannabis, want to see the public consumption of cannabis treated the same as tobacco, and that some munis are open to looking into vapour lounges.
UBCM’s recommendations support the idea of a hybrid public/private retail model similar to how the province manages alcohol, the inclusion of the federal government’s four plant allowance for personal cultivation of cannabis, and extending existing public tobacco regulations/restrictions to smoking or vaping non-medical cannabis.
Kerry Jang, a Vancouver city councillor who was one of 12 assigned to the the Joint Provincial-Local Government Committee on Cannabis Regulation (JCCR) by the UBCM earlier this year, says the group felt this was a common-sense proposal and that they felt there were no concerns around home growing in terms of safety, smell, etc.
“The province asked us if we had any additional restrictions that we say fit and we said no,” Jang told Lift. “Our staff tell us that four marijuana plants in a household is no different than four house plants in terms of smell or fire and safety hazards, so if the federal government says four is fine, then that’s fine with us.
“We looked at it from a municipal perspective—that is, will it cause a problem in terms of building code, or fire and safety hazards, and the answer is no, so we said that’s fine.“
The Vancouver City Councillor says that while there is no desire for an outright ban, some municipalities may still want to add some restrictions in terms of whether or not cannabis plants are grown outside or if plants should be allowed to be visible to the public, etc.
In a press conference on Dec 5 where he announced an age limit of 19 and a provincial distribution model, BC’s Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth said the province is still looking at the issue of personal home cultivation. The province also says it is still looking at what type of retail system to implement, and hopes to announce this by late January or early February.
In terms of personal cultivation, again the feds have said that they will allow four plants,” said Farnworth. “There’s a lot of work still around that particular issue, particularly [in] regard to residential tenancy acts—for example, the rights of landlords, the rights of tenants—there’s a whole host of public policy issues that we’re working on for that particular issue before we can make a final decision on how that’s going to unfold here in British Columbia.”
While the proposed federal regulations for legalization allow up to four plants per household, they also allow provinces to further limit the number of plants or ban them altogether. Two other provinces, Manitoba and Quebec, have already said they will not allow homegrown cannabis.
Jang says that the UBCM wants to see public consumption of smoked or vaped cannabis limited to the same areas where tobacco use is currently allowed. While some municipalities say they are interested in the possibility of smoking or vapour lounges, but more research needs to be done on the subject.
“We did say that at some point we should be looking at smoking lounges and whether or not that’s a possibility,” said Jang. “I know some health authorities are not keen on that at all, but it’s just something that we may have to look at in the future.
“Our city, Vancouver, said that we’re willing to explore the issue, but we want to take a public health approach and look at the research before making a decision.”
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