As part of public consultations being made by the Quebec government leading towards the legalization of marijuana, officials from the City of Laval presented a brief to their provincial counterparts recently containing comments on the proposed legislation – Bill 157.
“The government recognized the necessity to increase the autonomy and powers of municipalities,” said Laval Mayor Marc Demers. “It is in this spirit that we have proposed various modifications to Bill 157. Laval hopes, among other things, that the Quebec government gives municipalities financial levers and rules allowing to better deal with the use of cannabis on our territory.”
According to the mayor, Laval wants to be able to establish zones where the sale of marijuana would be prohibited to youths. These zones would be in areas around schools, for example, as well as near recreational facilities or youth drop-in centres. The mayor noted that this type of practice has already been implemented in some U.S. states.
In addition, according to Demers, the City of Laval wants Quebec to grant municipalities the right to a veto on questions concerning the location of marijuana points of sale. As well, Laval is not ruling out the possibility that it would enact regulations making it illegal to consume marijuana in public places such as parks and green spaces. The city would also like to have the right to prohibit the use of marijuana during large public outdoor events such as Laval’s annual Fête de la Famille and the Fête des Pompiers, for example.
Estimated costs for Laval
According to the mayor, the city currently estimates it will cost Laval at least $1.5 million to implement new measures made necessary by the legalization of marijuana. These would include new equipment and training for police officers. The city wants to know whether and how these costs might be shared by other levels of government.
Mayor Demers also noted that it will be difficult to detect the presence of cannabis in individuals using it, although a principle of zero tolerance will prevail as regards the operation of motor vehicles. For this reason, the city wants Quebec to define in its legislation just what zero tolerance will mean when applied.