Markham passes bylaw restricting consumption of cannabis to private residences

Cannabis will become legal at the stroke of midnight but residents in at least one Greater Toronto Area community will face strict conditions on where they can light up.

At a special meeting on Tuesday morning, Markham city council voted unanimously 11-0 in favour of a new bylaw that restricts the consumption of cannabis to “private residences.”

The bylaw effectively replaces a portion of provincial legislation which permits the consumption of cannabis wherever smoking is allowed, with the exception of motor vehicles and boats.

The previous Liberal government had intended to prohibit the consumption of cannabis on all public property but the Progressive Conservative government backtracked on that, introducing legislation which mirrored the Smoke-Free Ontario Act.

Exceptions were, however, introduced to ban the use of cannabis in motor vehicles, on boats and with 20 metres of any publicly-owned sport fields.

“There is still a lot of opinions on the legalization of cannabis to begin with but when this proposal came through we started hearing a lot of concerns about people just taking a walk down the street with their elderly parents or going to Markville mall and having to laod up the kids while someone is beside them smoking cannabis,” Scarpitti said.

The provincial government has said that municipalities are free to pass bylaws further restricting where cannabis can be consumed, though Markham is the only GTA city to do so at this point.

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