No cannabis allowed: Saint-Laurent borough puts up signs to enforce public smoking ban
Borough Mayor Alan DeSousa says he is confident there won't be any confusion
If you want to light up a joint in Mount-Royal Park, that's a-okay, but doing the same in Marcel-Laurin Park, or any other public space in Ville Saint-Laurent, will earn you a ticket.
The borough is one of several municipalities, including Pierrefonds-Roxboro, Town of Mount-Royal, Pointe-Claire and Hampstead, that has banned the use of cannabis in the public domain completely.
That means consumption in parks, sidewalks, bike paths and near public buildings will be in violation of the municipal bylaws.
"Will people be confused? Hopefully not," said Alan DeSousa, borough mayor of Saint-Laurent.
According to the borough, offenders will face fines ranging from $100 to $2,000.
The City of Montreal announced earlier this month that cannabis can be smoked pretty much anywhere that cigarettes are allowed.
The city specified that cannabis would not be allowed in bus shelters or on the grounds of post-secondary education institutions.
But DeSousa, an opposition councillor with Ensemble Montréal, told CBC News those rules don't go far enough for Saint-Laurent.
"It's no different than consuming alcohol," he said. "In the same manner that you wouldn't have a beer or a scotch on the sidewalk."
He said the borough is making every effort to make their bylaws clear, putting up signs in the parks and in public spaces reminding people of the rules.
DeSousa said that residents would also be critical in the fight to keep cannabis out of the public domain.
"If people from outside our community come here, our own residents will be the best people who will inform them and let them know what's allowed," he said.
There are three government-run cannabis outlets in Montreal right now, one of which is on L'Acadie Boulevard in Ahuntsic-Cartierville, just beyond Saint-Laurent borough limits.
Similar bans in other boroughs, municipalities
The boroughs of Saint-Leonard, Montreal North and Rivière-des-Prairies–Pointe-aux-Trembles are working on bylaws of their own.
Across the province, Quebec City, Sherbrooke, Levis, Saguenay, Victoriaville, Pointe-Claire and many other municipalities have either banned the consumption of cannabis in public or signalled their intention to pass bylaws to that effect.
The new Coalition Avenir Québec government has promised a Quebec-wide ban on the drug in public places.
With files from Antoni Nerestant