N.S. increases number of places where smoking pot, tobacco will be restricted
HALIFAX -- Nova Scotia is expanding restrictions on where people can smoke tobacco and cannabis ahead of the legalization of recreational pot use this summer.
Justice Minister Mark Furey issued a statement Tuesday saying the province will add five new areas to the Smoke-free Places Act where smoking of both products will be banned.
That includes the smoking or vaping of cannabis or tobacco on or near playgrounds, publicly owned sport and recreation sites, public trails, and provincial parks and beaches -- except within a rented campsite.
Furey said people will be able to smoke and vape cannabis in their own homes, on their private property, or in their apartment if it is permitted in the lease.
However, cannabis use will not be allowed in vehicles, under new legislation to be introduced during this legislative session.
If cannabis is being carried in a vehicle, it must be stored in a closed, fastened package and out of reach to the driver or passengers.
Violations of the new rules carry a fine of up to $2,000.
"We looked carefully at how we could balance the legalization of cannabis with our goals to reduce smoking of any kind," Furey said in the statement.
The Nova Scotia government said its approach is in line with measures adopted in British Columbia, Alberta, Quebec and the Northwest Territories.
By contrast, most of the other provinces have opted for a full public consumption ban, which means people in those provinces will be permitted to smoke cannabis only in their private home or on their property, the province said.
Nunavut is the only jurisdiction that has yet to announced its plans regarding public consumption.
Meanwhile, smoking of all kinds in Nova Scotia is already prohibited in all indoor public places and workplaces, and in many outdoor spaces, including school and daycare grounds, bar and restaurant patios and within four metres of an entrance or air intake.
Smoking is also prohibited in vehicles where children are passengers.
The new legislation will prohibit the use of tobacco in vehicles used as part of one's work, unless the vehicle is also for personal use and is only driven by one person during work hours.
The amendments will also confirm that municipalities can pass bylaws that put additional restrictions in place. The stricter rules will apply.