File photo.

File photo.

Cannabis lounges should be considered in B.C.: Victoria City Council

Council asks province to allow spaces for public consumption

Marijuana lounges could be in Victoria’s future if the province follows the city’s lead.

The City of Victoria submitted a list of recommendations to the province for cannabis regulations following legalization next year. Council’s positions on public consumption, minimum age, personal possession, drug-impaired driving, personal cultivation, and distribution and retail models were discussed.

Designated areas for consuming marijuana were suggested, particularly for those who cannot smoke in their home.

“Renters, specifically, could face eviction for using cannabis in their households, which will be a legal substance, and for many people, is their medicine,” Coun. Jeremy Loveday said. “If there are bylaws from the CRD, or laws provincially that ban it in public, that would mean there is actually no place for them to use their medicine.”

RELATED: Consider workplace safety in legalized marijuana rules, group urges

Coun. Margaret Lucas said she thought there should be a distinction between medicinal and recreational, noting there are laws that regulate smoking although tobacco is legal.

“You can’t open a cigar-smoking lounge anymore … you can’t have those, even with the ventilation and everything,” she said. “Cigarette smoking, there’s nothing illegal about that, and we don’t allow it in those places either.”

Coun. Ben Isitt said vaping would be healthier for people to consume, and for potential employees who may work in a marijuana lounge, but he’d prefer the provincial government decide on the way people can consume the drug.

“We’re not very prescriptive in how alcohol is consumed,” he said. “People are allowed to drink it, I don’t even know if there’s laws saying you can’t inject alcohol in a club or a lounge or private club for that matter, but we don’t have that level of specificity,” he said.

But Coun. Geoff Young suggested allowing marijuana smoking in public, and in lounges, would contradict current tobacco smoking laws.

“We do have to avoid the ridiuclous situation that would arise if we allowed consumption of cannabis by smoking in places we don’t allow cigarette smoking,” he said. “All of the health benefits we’ve gained by control of smoking would be lost.”

Drug-impaired driving was also discussed. The city asked the province for: strong restrictions on drug-impaired driving; educational and awareness campaigns on cannabis-impaired driving; and roadside testing, suspension and prohibition programs.

Unlike a roadside breathalyzer test to detect alcohol intoxication, there is no equivalent test for marijuana. Police may use a blood test, but marijuana is detectable even weeks after use, long after the user is sober. For this reason, council supported a zero tolerance on impairment for L and N licence holders, not zero tolerance for detecting marijuana on a blood test.

RELATED: VicPD chief: Legalizing marijuana will require more police resources

Loveday said drug-impaired driving is already something many constituents are concerned about, but he wonders how much policing this will cost.

“It was raised by our police chief that legalization of cannabis will raise costs of policing for municipalities, and I think that is the exact opposite of what legalization should do,” he said.

“If that is the result of the legalization framework that’s coming in, we should push back on that, and say we can’t afford to pay, and it’s not the right type of framework.”

On distribution, council would like to see a differentiation between medicinal and non-medicinal cannabis, and options for local enterprise, craft enterprise, and small business in cultivation, distribution and retail sale. They also asked the province to allow for public and private selling, and create a provincial standard covering cannabis retail.

RELATED: B.C. says 50-50 pot tax split with feds not good enough, province needs more

On cultivation, council supported Bill C-45. Councillors further asked that the city continue to have zoning authority for location of both public and private retail outlets.

lauren.boothby@vicnews.com

City of Victoriamarijuanamarijuana dispensaries

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Eli, left, Brent, Lindsay and Ava Wilson. (Photo courtesy of Lindsay Wilson)
West Shore families share experience in raising a child with autism

Two families reveal some parallels, but circumstances are different for everyone

Kit Thornton, chief aquarist at the Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea, plays with Wanda, the female Giant Pacific octopus currently residing at the centre. The centre will release Wanda back into the wild next month. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
An octopus named Wanda will soon say goodbye to Sidney

Wanda’s personality is ‘complete opposite’ of previous octopus named after Dr. Bonnie Henry

Hamels Fabrics & Quilting is set to open on April 6 in Sooke. The shop is located at 2044 Otter Point Road. (Mark Martins/Pixabay)
Fabric and quilting store opens doors in Sooke

Shop is filled with all kinds of ‘bright, bold and cheery’ designs

New hours went into effect at Saanich Parks and Public Works Yard for spring and summer seasons on April 6. (District of Saanich/Twitter)
Spring, summer hours in effect at Saanich Public Works Yard

Residents reminded to practise social distancing, prepare to unload without staff help

The 10-part Netflix series Maid, which is being exclusively shot in Greater Victoria, was filming near Prospect Lake in Saanich last month. (Photo courtesy Fred Haynes)
Province announces $150,000 investment into movie studio study at Camosun College

South Island NDP candidates promised funding to develop business plan during 2020 election

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

Organ donation form from BC Transplant. (BC Transplant)
POLL: Have you registered as an organ donor?

They number 1.5 million strong and growing. But their numbers still fall… Continue reading

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of April 6

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Tyson Ginter, 7, is proud of his latest Hot Wheels he recently received by Quesnel RCMP Const. Matt Joyce. (Photo submitted)
B.C. Mountie handing out toy cars to light up children’s faces

‘A lot of times it will be the only interaction they have with the police,’ says Const. Matt Joyce

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a technical briefing on the COVID pandemic in Canada, Friday, January 15, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s ICUs see near-record of COVID-19 patients last week as variant cases double

Last week, Canadian hospitals treated an average of 2,500 patients with COVID-19, daily, up 7% from the previous week

Librarian Katie Burns with the Fraser Valley Regional Libraries poses for a photo in Chilliwack on June 18, 2019. Monday, April 12, 2021 is Library Workers’ Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of April 11 to 17

Library Workers Day, That Sucks! Day, and Wear Your Pyjamas to Work Day are all coming up this week

Nanaimo RCMP are asking for the public’s help in identifying the man suspected of being involved in a stabbing. (Photo submitted)
Nanaimo RCMP trying to identify stabbing suspect who wielded rusty knife

Stabbing followed argument between two men at Port Place Shopping Centre April 1

The inside of the Campbell River Community Centre gymnasium has been marked off in order to facilitate the public flowing through the clinic as they receive their COVID-19 vaccination. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell river Mirror
Leftover vaccines go into arms, not down the drain: Island Health

Immunization plan comes with built-in options for any unused vaccines at the end of the day

A man wears a face mask past the emergency department of the Vancouver General Hospital. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
Calls for stricter action in B.C. as COVID-19 variants projected to climb

Jens von Bergmann says the province has taken a ‘wait and see’ approach when early action is needed

Most Read