Dear Herb: Will I be allowed to smoke cannabis on a post-legalization camping trip?
Provincial and territorial governments are still sorting out their approaches to where cannabis can be consumed after legalization
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 04/04/2018 (1765 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Dear Herb: Can I get the low down on smoking cannabis while camping once the country moves ahead with legalization? Technically, I have rented a private plot for the weekend, so I wanna know if I can freely smoke on my site, the same as I would drink. — Cannabis Camper
Dear Cannabis Camper: I don’t know which province you’re planning on camping in, so it’s hard for me to give you a definitive answer on this one. Still, I’ll do my best to give you some useful information.
The federal government regulates smoking of tobacco (and soon, cannabis) in workplaces, trains, airplanes and ships. Regulation of smoking in other places falls to the provinces and territories.
Your question provides a good opportunity to look at what we currently know about pending recreational cannabis consumption laws in the provinces and territories. For each province and territory, I’ve included a link with the latest available information.
Let’s pitch a tent, roast some marshmallows and get into it, alphabetically:
Alberta plans to prohibit smoking (and vaping) cannabis in any place where tobacco is restricted, plus playgrounds, playing fields, skate parks, zoos, outdoor theatres and outdoor pools — basically, anywhere children might be. Individual Alberta municipalities can add their own restrictions, too.
British Columbia is taking a similar approach, and will generally allow adults to use non-medical cannabis in public spaces where tobacco smoking and vaping are permitted. Like Alberta, B.C. won’t allow cannabis smoking or vaping in areas frequented by children, such as beaches, parks playgrounds.
Manitoba has introduced a bill that will prohibit smoking and vaping cannabis in outdoor public places. Again, that includes parks and beaches.
New Brunswick will prevent smoking of cannabis in the same places as the province’s existing Smoke-free Places Act prohibits tobacco smoking.
Newfoundland and Labrador plans to restrict cannabis use to private residences only.
Northwest Territories plans to restrict cannabis smoking in any place where tobacco… cannot be smoked. (This document notes that people will be allowed to smoke weed in some public places such as trails and parks, but not when they are being used for public events.)
Nova Scotia’s newly proposed Cannabis Control Actwill amend that province’s Smoke-free Places Act to prohibit cannabis smoking in the same places tobacco smoking is banned, including outdoor public spaces.
Nunavut also plans to ban cannabis smoking or vaping where tobacco is banned, plus in vehicles, schools grounds, hospitals and playgrounds.
Ontario is prohibiting cannabis consumption in public places, workplaces and vehicles.
Prince Edward Island will restrict cannabis use to private residences only, but might consider specially designated public spaces later on.
Quebec intends to prevent cannabis use in all enclosed spaces open to the public, plus outdoor areas open the public.
Saskatchewan isn’t going to allow any cannabis consumption in public spaces.
Yukon will limit recreational consumption to privately owned residences and adjoining property, where permitted by the owner. It has vowed to look at the potential to allow consumption in other spaces in the future.
At this point, it looks like almost all provinces and territories are treating cannabis consumption in a way that’s equal to or more restrictive than existing restrictions on tobacco consumption: it won’t be allowed in public spaces, and will generally be limited to private property.
Cannabis Camper, since you’re planning on camping out on a private plot after legalization, it seems to me that your ability to legally smoke weed on that land will be up to the owner. I would check to see what the final laws are in your specific area before lighting up. If it’s in a provincial park, you might have a problem with the park police if you are caught.
If the owner allows tobacco smoking on their campsite, my guess is that cannabis smoking would probably be acceptable too (unless the owner specifically prohibits it).
Just remember to put your joint out properly when you’re all done! Only you can prevent forest fires, Cannabis Camper.
Got a question about cannabis? Herb answers your questions about legal consumption and growing, the law, etiquette — you name it, he’ll look into it. Email email@example.com or to submit anonymously, fill out the form below. Please include an email address if you’d like to be notified when Herb answers your question: