KAMLOOPS — Short answer- they shouldn’t be. Premier John Horgan said this week that marijuana smokers may have to abide by the same public smoking rules as tobacco users when cannabis becomes legal next year. He seems to leave some doubt, though, that the same rules would be applied.
That’s a weird answer when it’s so obvious that people who are affected by second-hand pot smoke would be at least equally affected as by cigarette smoke, and probably more, given the potential hallucinogenic and other side effects of smoking pot.
Horgan says people are coming at him from both sides in the debate. Some are concerned about second-hand pot smoke, others say they’re looking forward to smoking a joint in community areas, with the idea that they would have a little walk, and smoke as they enjoy the scenery. They are deluded if they think that’s going to fly. We have many private and public areas which are smoke free. Most community buildings are smoke-free, so are many housing projects. When we think of smoke-free, why would we think pot smoke would be any different than cigarette smoke?
In Ontario, marijuana users won’t be able to consume pot outside of private residences. Assuming those residences don’t have smoke-free rules. In B.C., you have to be several meters away from doorways, windows, etc before you can smoke. Vancouver has a bylaw that bans smoking in parks and on beaches. Victoria’s clean air bylaw makes all parks, playgrounds, playing fields, public squares and bus stops smoke-free. Do we really think that rules for pot should be different? It’s quite likely, based on material released this week by medical officials in Alberta and Nova Scotia, that second hand pot smoke has some dangers. The information suggested that those who use pot a lot don’t have the same problem as newbies or those who don’t smoke pot at all. That suggests the effects of pot smoke could have a bigger effect on many than cigarette smoke.
This debate isn’t worth having. Smoking is smoking, whatever it is. And smoke causes problems, no matter what its source. Smoke creates environmental issues, and Premier Horgan’s statement causes even more confusion. You won’t be able to drive and smoke pot, because of its effects on many peoples’ minds and bodies. And it certainly stands to reason you shouldn’t be able to smoke where it can affect others, driving or not.
It’s just good common sense. And we need to ensure these rules are set out early so we can deal with appropriate measures to make sure the rules are abided by. Penalties will obviously not be as severe as they are now once pot is legalized, but rules are rules, and just because pot is becoming legal doesn’t mean it will be a no-holds barred scenario for smoking. Rules are rules, and need to be in place no matter what we’re dealing with.
I'm Doug Collins and that's One Man's Opinion