Canada is currently bracing for the impact of full adult recreational marijuana legalization, which will arrive on Oct. 17 thanks to the passage of the Cannabis Act.
While any adult can grow, buy, or consume cannabis from that date forward, a variety of policies are currently still being debated regarding exactly where marijuana can be smoked.
Public use plans can vary between provinces, and public usage isn’t expected to be fully allowed in Alberta until October of 2019 after Health Canada launches regulations on edible cannabis products.
Public consumption is now under debate in Ontario with legislation that would place marijuana under the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, which would effectively allow the plant to be smoked on city streets and in parks.
That plan is meeting resistance from Ontario premier Doug Ford, who came out vocally against public usage in a press conference. The premier stated:
“I don’t know, guys. I don’t like people walking around drunk or smoking weed or any of that in a public part of a park. I’d like to consult with our entire cabinet, but especially consult with our attorney general and my finance minister.”
“What’s on the table is to protect children and make sure they aren’t exposed to any of this,” Ford added when asked if public usage was currently on the table and expected to be passed. Video of Ford making the remarks, courtesy of Global News, can be seen below.
Earlier this summer, Ford and his governing Progressive Conservative party scrapped the Liberal plan for public stores in Ontario and instead handed off distribution of cannabis to the private sector.
The outgoing Liberal government planned to utilize the Liquor Control Board of Ontario to sell marijuana at 40 government-run Ontario Cannabis Stores. Licenses for physical storefronts are now expected to be granted by the liquor commission to private retailers instead.
Public usage is just one area where questions remain as marijuana barrels towards legalization. Legal battles are already brewing over anti-smoking policies in universities and in private apartment residences.
Business of all sizes are also gearing up for legalization, coming up with new or expanded policies on impairment in the workplace.