Gananoque holds off on pot-smok­ing re­stric­tions

The Gananoque Reporter - - HOMES - WAYNE LOWRIE Post­media Net­work [email protected]­

Town coun­cil has de­layed pass­ing its no-pot-in-pub­lic by­law un­til the provin­cial gov­ern­ment clar­i­fies the On­tar­i­oMu­nic­i­pal Act.

In one of its fi­nal acts ear­lier this month, Gananoque’s coun­cil de­cided to treat cannabis con­sump­tion the way the gov­ern­ment treats booze: If you can’t drink in pub­lic, nor should you be able to con­sume cannabis.

The town’s by­law would pro­hibit, for ex­am­ple, peo­ple from strolling through town smok­ing a joint, which would be al­lowed un­der On­tario laws that treat cannabis the same as to­bacco.

Town coun­cil en­dorsed the by­law at a com­mit­tee meet­ing three weeks ear­lier and it was poised to rat­ify it at its for­mal coun­cil meet­ing last week.

At last week’s meet­ing, how­ever, Shellee Fournier, chief ad­min­is­tra­tive of­fi­cer, rec­om­mended that coun­cil hold off. TheOn­tario gov­ern­ment has pro­posed amend­ments to its Smoke- free On­tario Act to al­low­mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties to reg­u­late cannabis smok­ing in pub­lic, she said.

In a re­port, Fournier said the town would still have the power to reg­u­late cannabis use in pub­lic, but the le­gal ref­er­ences would have to be changed to re­flect the gov­ern­ment’s new reg­u­la­tions.

She rec­om­mended that coun­cil wait for the gov­ern­ment re­vi­sions so that the town doesn’t have to change its by­law twice.

On­tario’s fi­nance min­is­ter and its at­tor­ney-gen­eral have re­as­sured­mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties that they will have the power to re­strict smok­ing of cannabis in pub­lic.

The de­ci­sion now will fall to an en­tirely new coun­cil that was elected on Ont. 22. It will be sworn in on Tues­day (Nov. 27).

In so­cial me­dia posts, some res­i­dents were cranky about coun­cil’s in­ten­tion to re­strict pot smok­ing in pub­lic. The by­law would put Gananoque out of step with the rest of the prov­ince and might hurt tourism, they said.

Coun­cil had de­cided to treat pot like al­co­hol on the rec­om­men­da­tion of Po­lice Chief Garry Hull.

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