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West Nipissing council holds off on cannabis bylaw

It won’t be long before West Nipissing council passes a bylaw on cannabis use and the penalties that go with it.

Council is holding off on the passage until the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit makes a presentation to council in the near future.

In the meantime members of council discussed where people can and can’t smoke up.

It turns out the number of places where people can use the drug is primarily in a private dwelling like a home or apartment.

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People are not allowed to use cannabis on public sidewalks, parks, or near places like schools, daycare centres, health-related facilities and churches to name a few of the exclusion sites.

The penalty for getting caught if you smoke up in the wrong place is a $200 fine.

Council also has restrictions on where retail cannabis shops can locate and here again it doesn’t want the outlets to be near schools, churches, daycare centres or health-related facilities.

Because the municipality will collect some revenue from the sale of pot it wants to use some of the funds to apply towards enforcement.

Council was told the health unit won’t enforce the bylaw because that’s up to the municipality.

Council agreed that could mean more hours of work for the bylaw enforcement office.

One area of concern for Councillor Yvon Duhaime was letting people smoke cannabis in apartments.

While the councillor says he understands this is in a private setting, his concern is that the smell will make it into other apartments of the building.

He says he would not like it if he was a tenant in the same building where someone smoked pot and believes this is how other tenants will react.

He’s hoping council can work on a common solution that everyone can live with.

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