Westmount, TMR explore bylaw changes to prevent cannabis use in public
Recreational marijuana becomes legal nationwide on Oct. 17
In anticipation of the upcoming legalization of recreational cannabis on Oct. 17, municipalities in the Montreal area are finding ways to prevent people from lighting up in public by updating their bylaws.
In Westmount, a new bylaw that came into effect Saturday bans smoking tobacco, herbs and electronic cigarettes in public parks and green spaces.
Westmount's old bylaw banned smoking within nine metres of playgrounds or sports fields in the city — but it was difficult to enforce the rules.
"It will be easier to enforce this, because it's in the entirety of the park now," said Westmount Mayor Christina Smith.
She said this is the best way the city's government could address the issue with its residents.
"There was some concern there would be a lot of marijuana smoking in parks, and obviously that won't happen with this bylaw in place," Smith said.
Anyone caught smoking in parks and green spaces could face fines of up to $1,000 for a first offence.
For now, Smith says there are no plans to follow cities like Hampstead and ban smoking in public altogether.
Town of Mount Royal joins in
In the Town of Mount Royal (TMR), the town council will vote next week on a bylaw amendment to ban any cannabis store from setting up shop locally.
Another bylaw amendment would prevent people from possessing or consuming cannabis anywhere in public in TMR, in the same way smoking and vaping is banned — even after federal legalization of the substance.
If passed during the Sept. 17 vote, the bylaw will come into effect on Sept. 19, well before cannabis becomes legal.
With files from CBC's Valeria Cori-Manocchio and Sean Henry