An incident involving a pot-smoking cyclist is serving as a cautionary tale for Terrace residents adjusting to new cannabis and tobacco laws.
On Oct. 17, the first-day marijuana was legalized across the country, an RCMP officer and the city’s bylaw compliance officer noticed the smell of marijuana near the McDonald’s on Lakelse Avenue.
When they got closer, a man approached RCMP and started a conversation, saying had gotten rid of the evidence.
“Problem is, he was riding a bike,” wrote Dwayne Sheppard, Terrace’s bylaw officer, in an email to the Terrace Standard.
Under the province’s new Cannabis Control and Licensing Act (CCLA), a person can’t consume cannabis while operating mobile equipment, or in this case, a bicycle — even when it’s not in motion.
Terrace RCMP spokesperson said because the biker did not exhibit signs of intoxication and was not seen with any marijuana in hand, no tickets or violations were issued.
Though if someone is intoxicated in public or riding their bike under the influence, police will investigate and deal with the situation on a case-by-case basis.
“If there is any confusion regarding where you can light up cannabis, I would treat it like alcohol and it cannot be consumed in public,” Sheppard wrote. “Sidewalks are a public space and the provincial and municipal rules apply for this area.”
Tobacco in parks
Because the restrictions on smoking and vaping tobacco and other nicotine products are relatively new, Terrace’s bylaw officer will not be fining offenders until proper signage is put in place around public spaces.
Currently, the fine for smoking anything in a prohibited area is $200.
The City of Terrace has said there is a plan to install ‘no smoking’ signs in parks and recreation areas, but no timeline has been released as to when they will be in place.
“We are finalizing a design for new signage to install in [George Little Park or the Sportsplex/Aquatic Centre], and possibly other locations to convey the restriction,” wrote David Block, city’s director of development services. “This will take a bit of time to finalize, order and install.”
Until then, Sheppard said they will be warning the public regarding the bylaw changes (i.e. no smoking/vaping tobacco) until signage is in place at the park.
Currently ‘no smoking’ signs are posted inside transit shelters and other transportation spots.