Cannabis and summer safety

Cannabis and boating

Summer is coming, and the warmer weather is a timely reminder to think about safety issues when it comes to outdoor non-medical cannabis consumption.

Cannabis and boating

Don’t drive high. Impairment from cannabis can seriously impact one’s ability to safely operate a boat. It is a criminal offence to operate a boat while impaired to any degree by alcohol, a drug or a combination of both.

Under BC’s provincial Cannabis Control and Licensing Act (“CCLA”) it is illegal to consume cannabis on a boat, whether it is moving or not. This law applies to passengers as well as operators, so a person must not operate a boat if any person is consuming cannabis in it.

There are two exemptions from the prohibition on cannabis consumption on boats. Cannabis may be consumed on boats in BC that are equipped with permanent sleeping accommodations, cooking facilities, and a toilet, and act as a permanent or temporary private residence—as long as they are moored or anchored.

Cannabis may also be consumed on boats that are providing marine transportation for paying passengers if the passenger consuming cannabis is in an enclosed room in which the passenger and the passenger's party, if any, have been assigned exclusive accommodation.

A boat is defined as “a vessel or other craft in, on or by which a person or thing may be transported or drawn on water”, so be aware of these regulations if you are kayaking, canoeing or travelling on the water in any way. Failure to comply with the CCLA may result in a fine ranging from $2,000 to $100,000, imprisonment of three to 12 months, or both.

Beaches, parks, and trails

Know the facts about summer safety and responsible consumption in public places such as beaches and parks. Regulations may vary by local government, but in Vancouver there are smoking bylaws in place that mean it is illegal to smoke in parks, on the seawall, beaches, and on pathways and trails. The minimum fine for smoking in a park or other regulated outdoor space is $250. Visit your local municipality’s website to find out more about the bylaws in place in your community.

BC’s CCLA also prohibits cannabis smoking and vaping everywhere tobacco smoking and vaping are prohibited, as well as at playgrounds, sports fields, skate parks, and other places where children commonly gather. 

In Parks Canada campgrounds, non-medical cannabis consumption is generally limited to the visitor’s campsite, and is not permitted in campground common areas (such as playgrounds, kitchen shelters, washrooms, trails, or roads.) Public cannabis consumption rules differ between provinces and territories and also may differ between Parks Canada spaces, so check the rules of each place before you visit.

Consume considerately and be safe this summer. If you have questions about the effects of cannabis consumption, contact your health care provider.


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