Where can you light up in Sudbury once cannabis becomes legal?

Marijuana is set to become legal in Canada in seven days and in recent weeks there has been a major shift in the number of places people in Ontario will be able to enjoy it.

Province amending Smoke Free Ontario Act to include cannabis smoking

Daniel Jordan, 25, Tampa, Fla., lights a marijuana cigarette at the iBake smoking lounge in Denver on Tuesday, April 25, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Joe Mahoney (Joe Mahoney/Canadian Press)

Marijuana is set to become legal in Canada in seven days and in recent weeks there has been a major shift in the number of places people in Ontario will be able to enjoy it.

The previous Liberal government had planned to restrict use to private homes and properties, but that changed when the Progressive Conservatives were elected in June.

Amendments to the Smoke Free Ontario Act are now making their way through the legislature that will bring cannabis smoking under the Act's umbrella.

In short, the province says anywhere you can smoke a cigarette, you'll be able to smoke pot.

That concerns Sudbury college student Erik Tanguay.

"Me having a child, I don't want to walk down the sidewalk and smell that all the time," he said. "It's a strong smell."

Dean Franks, a friend of Tanguay's, added that the rules don't seem clear.

"You're allowed to smoke it wherever you smoke tobacco, whereas it can impair you and tobacco doesn't," he said.

"So you wonder why you can smoke marijuana in public but not {drink} alcohol."

Lighting up in long-term care?

At the City of Greater Sudbury, several working groups are sorting things out ahead of legalization.

Kevin Fowke, the General Manager of Corporate Services, says where people can use is not as simple as it seems.

He refers to information on a provincial website, which says residents of long-term care homes may consume pot in what's called a "controlled area".

Kevin Fowke is the General Manager of Corporate Services for the City of Greater Sudbury. (Markus Schwabe/CBC)

According to the website, these areas may be found "in long-term care homes, certain retirement homes, residential hospices, provincially-funded supportive housing and designated psychiatric facilities or veterans' facilities."

"My understanding of the new legislation is that we will need to make provision for an area within long-term care homes, that would allow for the use of cannabis," Fowke said. "And certainly that's a challenge for us."

"You've got a population that you know obviously we take great care to ensure is taken care of and now has a legitimate and a legal right to be able to consume cannabis for their own recreational use or from a municipal point of view."

Municipalities could pass bylaws further restricting the use of cannabis.

The provincial website says additional restrictions on smoking and vaping may exist in lease agreements and the policies of employers and property owners.

Landlords concerned about property damage

In residences like apartments and condos, smoking and growing up to four plants is permitted.

That's causing a stir among landlords like John Wilson, the President of the Near North Landlords Association in the North Bay area.

Wilson says landlords are worried about the cost of renovating units damaged by smoke, or by intoxicated tenants, estimating $4,000 to $8,000 a unit.
A man smokes a marijuana joint. (David Donnelly/CBC)

His company inserted a clause into its rental agreement prior to legalization prohibiting the use or production of cannabis or its derivatives.

"That clause is in our lease, so technically under a legal contract that allows us to say 'You can't smoke cannabis in your unit," Wilson said.

"But now we come to the factor of human rights. Where does that particular law take us?"

Restrictions to be enforced by police, city, health unit

Motels and hotels are expected to set aside designated smoking rooms.

Universities and colleges, like Cambrian College and Laurentian University is Sudbury, are still working out their policies for students.

According to the province, smoking will be prohibited at work, near schools, playgrounds, childcare centres or hospitals, restaurants and bar patios and on the outdoor grounds of Ontario government office buildings

Other restrictions include smoking inside a bus shelter, on a bus, in a car or on a boat, unless it is a place of residence.

Bylaw officers and police officers will work to enforce the new rules, along with compliance officers with the local health unit.
Homeowners and tenants will be allowed to grow up to four cannabis plants per residence. (CBC)

Burgess Hawkins, the Manager of Environmental Health with Public Health Sudbury and Districts, says the health unit has two officers who deal with cigarette smoking and will also deal with cannabis when it becomes legal.

Hawkins says a complaint system for citizens to report others who they think are breaking the rules will also be set up.

He says he's not sure whether there will be a flood or a trickle of complaints.

Cannabis becomes legal next week, on October 17th.

With files from Kate Rutherford