by Tristan Turner
Council has received two new reports for information on hot-button topics: vaping and marijuana legislation. Both reports were prepared by Sgt. William Norton, Morinville’s Manager of Enforcement Services, and were accepted as part of a larger sudo ‘consent agenda’ motion, where council also received many other items for information and passed motions.
The larger motion – which accepted these reports for information – passed 5-2 with councillors Richardson and Dafoe opposing. As a result of their acceptance en masse, council did not offer any comments or questions to either report, and no further action was taken.
Vaping sales to minor’s centre of report
This first report was on public concerns when it comes to ‘vaping’ or e-cigarettes. The report came forward in response to an information request from council on filling the gap on the sale of vaping products to minors until Federal Bill S5 is passed.
The information request from Deputy Mayor Stephen Dafoe, who was responding to public concerns about the sale of vaping products to minors in Morinville reported on social media and to him in person. The report, and previous comments from councillor Dafoe note that there are no restrictions on the sale of vaping products or ‘juices’ to minors, though incoming federal law will prohibit the sale of juices to minors.
This federal legislation, Senate Bill S5, is currently awaiting Third Reading in the House, and is expected to receive Royal Assent and become law shortly. The legislation will apply many of the same restrictions on cigarettes under the Tobacco Act to vaping products, including limiting the sales to minors and introducing plain packaging requirements.
At Council’s Nov. 14 meeting, Dafoe commented that he felt Morinville should have something in place while waiting for Federal laws to come into effect, then saying: “In the absence of provincial and federal rules, I want to ensure that we have something in place.”
The report also shares that there is no comprehensive federal legislation regarding vaping rules, but note that new additional regulations are likely incoming in the coming years. Meanwhile, the report notes there are two businesses located in Morinville dedicated to selling vaping ‘juice’ and paraphernalia. Dafoe reported at the meeting where he made the information requests that the owners of both stores have a policy to not sell any materials to minors, though no law presents them from doing so.
The report briefly suggests that many fears around the effects of vaping are “not substantiated or are perpetuated through rumour” and that these concerns usually surround the health of “introducing vapour or nicotine products into the body by means of heating or vaporizing products and the second-hand exposure.”
There is no further action suggested in the report, though Norton included a list of common restrictions on vaping that other municipalities have implemented, including restrictions on selling to minors.
This report was brought to council because of a previous information request looking into how marijuana legalization will affect Morinville regarding legal/bylaw obligations, as well as enforcement services.
The report attaches an infographic with information about the province’s implementation of cannabis legalization, including restrictions on advertising, public consumption, and impaired driving.
Norton also outlines that it is unclear where additional resources for enforcement of new cannabis rules will come from, and whether the Town’s budget will be directly affected. There will be new requirements for land use bylaws and other development legislation, however, with strict provincial requirements on the distance between new cannabis retailers and liquor stores, schools or other buildings.