Demand for an all-out smoking ban in public parks around the city is growing at Montreal city council.
Long-time city councillor Marvin Rotrand is pushing to make it illegal to smoke all products in public parks and green spaces.
“It won’t stop people from smoking on sidewalks outside of parks, but that’s a whole lot better than smoke near me and you and our children inside parks,” Rotrand said.
This follows a growing trend which started in 2007 with Vancouver banning smoking in parks.
Closer to home, several cities, towns and municipalities have followed suit.
In March, the Town of Hampstead passed a bylaw that makes it against the law to smoke on all municipal property — including parks, streets and even sidewalks.
Smoking is already banned within nine metres of public buildings, schools and playgrounds. First time offenders can faces fines of up to $750.
With cannabis legalization looming, laws that pertain to tobacco will also apply to marijuana products.
That has sparked some concern with Montreal borough mayors, who have tabled motions to ban smoking marijuana in green spaces and parks in their area.
Quebec City announced that it would also ban pot in all public places, following similar bylaws already passed in nearby municipalities like Levis and L’Ancienne-Lorette.
Montreal mayor Valerie Plante says the city bylaws will remain the same.
“For us, it was important to stick to what is applicable and what makes sense in terms of public health and I will be following the tobacco rules,” Plante said.
Rotrand says its not just a question of cannabis, it’s a question of tobacco, cannabis and second-hand smoke.
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Since the change in provincial smoking laws in 2016 which banned smoking in restaurants and patios, “It is now considered normal to not smoke there, [smokers] consider it normal as well,” Rotrand said.
Mark Medeiros, who has been smoking for years, says he is open to the idea of banning smoking in public parks.
“I would accept it,” Medeiros said.
“It’s about time. Even though I’m a smoker, it’s a step in the right direction.”
Only the City of Montreal has the power to enforce a smoking ban.
City officials will be unveiling their cannabis action plan in the coming days.
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