Responsible Consumption Part 1: The Location
By Unity Marguerite Whittaker, Creative Director and Co-founder BlyssCloud
Recreational adult-use cannabis is federally legal in Canada. Currently Canadians have access to dried flower and oils. Edibles, vape cartridges and topicals will be legal in the future. Until then, Canadians will be smoking their cannabis.
Considering this, Canadians wanting to smoke cannabis must abide by federal, provincial and municipal regulations; as well as, strata/condo bylaws and landlord rules. The current provincial laws for cannabis consumption are closely aligned with the provincial laws regarding tobacco smoking with further restrictions; six provinces prohibit cannabis consumption in public.
It’s important to familiarize yourself with the regulations in your province, city and building.
In British Columbia these regulations include:
no smoking: on or near school property;
in sporting areas including ski hills;
federal, provincial or municipal parks;
in a vehicle or boat;
in the workplace,
enclosed public space or common areas, including home offices during working hours;
in any place delegated for loading and unloading of passengers including public transportation, taxis, ferries or ride-shares.
On top of these regulations, landlords can prohibit cannabis smoking; and, if you’re a homeowner, even condo-bylaws can prohibit smoking cannabis within private homes and on private patios.
The consequences in BC for cannabis intoxication in public are severe; including, up to three months in prison. It’s critical that when consuming to abide by all the regulations.
Respecting Our Neighbors
With all these regulations, it’s clear the stigma is real. Even if you’re legally smoking cannabis in an approved location, it’s of the highest priority to consume respectfully. The long-term goal is to ensure Canadians have informed and positive experiences with cannabis. It’s our obligation as cannabis consumers to play by the rules and to respect another’s choice not to consume.
Here are five tips for consuming responsibly:
Do Not Consume Near Child & Youth Friendly Venues
The federal government’s top priority is keeping cannabis out of the hands of youth. The regulations around packaging are designed to not to appeal to young people in any way.
Consuming on or near school properties, including sidewalks and roadways, even during off hours, weekends and holidays, is a big no-no. To be safe don’t smoke anywhere that children are likely to go to, including: any sporting facilities, community centres, shopping areas, family friendly events and private homes where children are present. If you’re smoking and a young person appears, best to put the joint out.
This seems silly considering adults drink alcohol in front of their children, alcohol is not in child-proof packaging and alcohol was directly responsible for 1 in 20 deaths in 2016 (Global status report on alcohol and health 2018, WHO); but this isn’t about logic, this is about fear and stigma.
Look Around Before Lighting Up
It’s permitted to consume on sidewalks; but not sidewalks adjacent to schools, playgrounds or parks. And it’s illegal to consume within 6-metres to doors, windows and air-intakes.
We’re permitted to smoke in private homes with the permission of a landlord and condo bylaws. Even if you’re smoking somewhere legally, be sure to look for any open windows to a neighbour’s home. Be concerned about how the smoke will travel and where it may go. An upset neighbour will create more problems than it’s worth. The squeaky wheel gets the oil.
This will make smoking outside easier in cold weather, but come warmer days, smoking on a private patio may no longer be an option if a window is open nearby.
Circulate the Air
Since it’s challenging to smoke outside, it makes sense to smoke indoors. This poses a whole new level of regulations especially if you don’t own and live in a single-family dwelling on private property.
In Canada, Vancouver has the highest proportion of households living in condominiums at 30.6% with 51% of Vancouverites being renters; Montreal has the lowest homeownership rate in any Canadian metropolitan area at 55.7% (Housing in Canada: Key results from 2016 Census).
If you live in a building with shared common space, it’s critical to implement steps to ensure your cannabis habits don’t bother your neighbours.
Always turn on fans when you’re consuming. Be strategic with the location of the fans. Keeping a fan near the front door of your apartment will blow the smoke inside rather than outside. Turn on the kitchen fan and open doors and windows. This does mean that consuming at home can get chilly. When you invite guests, inform them on how to dress for best comfort.
If you’re a regular smoker at home, investing in an air purifier will capture pollutants in the air including smells and smoke.
Use Scent to Cover the Smell of Smoke
Don’t rely on a single item to cover the scent of smoke. Choose several options to ensure your smoking doesn’t disturb your neighbours and to keep your home clean.
If you have a shared hallway, consider using a Glade Plug-In to always keep the hallway smelling good. Placing oil diffusers with rattan reeds in each room of your home will maintain a consistent pleasant scent with no effort.
Essential oils in a diffuser are an excellent resource for keeping your home fresh. Citrus aromatherapy is ideal for smoking; choose lime, lemon, or grapefruit to keep your place feeling clean.
Although not the healthiest option, keep a stock of Febreze odor elimination spray bottles which work great when you’re in a pinch.
Always Be Safe
With all these regulations, it’ll be easy to place yourself in a situation which isn’t safe. Perhaps, it’s dark and an alley is the only legal spot you can find. Remember to stay in well-lit areas away from traffic.
Always have a back-up plan in case you get too high. Have a buddy system, keep CBD close and somewhere safe to hunker down if needed.