Now that marijuana is legal in Canada, many cannabis users will assume that they can light up in public. However, this is not the case in most municipalities. When it comes to smoking indoors in any public space across Canada, it doesn’t matter what you’re smoking – whether it's marijuana or tobacco, it’s going to be prohibited by the law. The exception to this is if it's in your own home or if your strata building allows smoking indoors.
Although many of us love the sweet, pungent aroma of marijuana, smoking of any sort is offensive to some people. For this reason, smoking cannabis indoors is only something you’ll be able to do at home, or at designated marijuana smoking lounges.
The Skinny on Smoking Outdoors
As far as smoking cannabis outdoors is concerned, the long and short answer is that you MAY be able to smoke in public depending on where you are in Canada. Some cities, and even entire Provinces, like Calgary, Nova Scotia, and Quebec have banned public cannabis use except when consumed in designated areas.
Saskatchewan, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, PEI, and the Yukon have acted similarly and banned marijuana consumption in public places of all sorts. Check out this cannabis laws in Canada guide to learn about the details specific to each of these Provinces.
In the rest of Alberta outside Calgary, across British Columbia, and in Montreal you can smoke cannabis outdoors anywhere you can smoke tobacco. Note that in B.C. that does NOT include public beaches and parks.
Before consuming cannabis in public, be sure to find out about any municipal bylaws that limit smoking cannabis outdoors. There can be stiff fines imposed if you violate any of these laws.
So, once you’ve established whether smoking cannabis outside is permitted in your city, the best guideline to use is common sense. Don’t light up in areas where there are plenty of people passing by and your smoking is going to be quite conspicuous. Don’t light up where there are children around, or they’re likely to show up. Don’t light up anywhere where the smoke might waft into the windows of nearby residences. You get the idea – enjoy smoking cannabis outside, but be smart about it!
The Skinny on Smoking Indoors
As mentioned, the only place you’re going to be able to be 100% certain that smoking cannabis indoors is legal is either A) in your residence (and maybe not if you live in a strata building and your council has moved to ban smoking indoors and / or outdoors), or B) a marijuana smoking lounge.
Several Provinces are considering licensing cannabis lounges, and many proponents of them say they’re exactly what’s needed to prevent certain groups of people (teenagers most prominently) from overexposure and the perception that smoking is harmless. The idea of having people smoking indoors away from public view, and where the collective mindset of all attending isn’t going to be opposed to the second-hand smoke, does have merit.
B.C. and Alberta are said to be the two Provinces most likely to push for licensed cannabis lounges.
Tips for Smoking Indoors Discreetly
Alright, so even though it’s legal to smoke cannabis in your home and on your property (outdoors). it still doesn’t hurt to be respectful of anyone that might dislike the smell of it. Here’s some simple tips for smoking inside and how to be a little more discreet about it:
- Use a vaporizer – the vapour will have much less strong odour to it than smoke
- Open windows and use a circulating fan
- Use an instant air freshener like Ozium
- Use a smokeless ashtray and exhale out a window or door facing away from any adjacent residence
These are some solid tips. But really, unless the weather’s awful, there’s no better way to smoke cannabis than going outdoors for a walk. You’ll be back home in no time and there’ll be nothing at all to indicate you’ve just smoked.
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