Delta could be seeing changes to its smoking bylaw ahead of the legalization of recreational marijuana in October.
In council Monday night (June 25), Delta staff brought forward proposed amendments to the city’s smoking bylaw, some of which will set out where cannabis users will be able to smoke.
“We’re taking this opportunity to prepare ourselves when cannabis regulation comes into place,” said Sean McGill, Delta’s director of corporate services.
At council’s advice, staff updated the bylaw so that marijuana use is prohibited in places where alcohol consumption is also barred. This is more restrictive than the city’s current tobacco restrictions.
In the updated bylaw, smoking tobacco or marijuana is not allowed in buildings, other than private residences; in vehicles like taxis, limousines, school buses and public transportation; in any place of business where the public has access; and within 7.5 metres of a door, window, air intake, park, municipal land or transit stop.
In addition, people will also be unable to smoke pot on highways, streets, sidewalks and boulevards.
The smoking bylaw was also updated to include rules about e-cigarettes, which are treated the same as traditional cigarettes in the proposed amendments. The ability to smoke tobacco and pot in a designated room or outdoor seating area at places where alcohol is served is also being struck from the bylaw.
Council also updated the bylaw to increase the minimum distance smokers must be from intake areas, from six metres to 7.5 metres, to be consistent with other cities’ bylaws.
Mayor Lois Jackson asked about the municipality’s ability to deal with complaints from smoking in strata regulated buildings. McGill said people are allowed to smoke in their own units, so long as the 7.5 metre distance is maintained.
“This does give [the city] some potential to address” smoking complaints, he said.
Fines will remain the same for offences as they were in the original bylaw: a base penalty of $200 per offence, to a maximum of $10,000. Each day someone breaks the bylaw will be counted as a separate offence.
Council voted to give the amendments first, second and third reading Monday night. The amended bylaw will now go to a medical health officer at Fraser Health for consultation. A copy will also be given to the provincial Minister of Health.