Nova Scotia cannabis legislation to move ahead without amendments

Legislation governing legalized cannabis is moving ahead in Nova Scotia, despite calls from several health groups to strengthen provisions that govern where the drug can be smoked in public.

The legislature's law amendments committee was told that rules around the public consumption of pot under the new Cannabis Control Act should be the same as those for open alcohol, meaning smoking would be banned in all outdoor public spaces.

The Liberal government has said it is also expanding restrictions under the Smoke-free Places Act to ban smoking or vaping of cannabis near playgrounds, publicly owned sport and recreation sites, public trails, and provincial parks and beaches - except within a rented campsite.

But groups such as the Lung Association of Nova Scotia, Injury Free Nova Scotia and the IWK Children's Hospital say those restrictions don't go far enough, and they send the wrong message about the effects of smoking pot in public to people's health.

Justice Minister Mark Furey says the bill will move ahead as is, because the government believes it strikes the right balance in addressing various concerns around the legalization of marijuana.

Furey, a former RCMP officer, says he believes a complete prohibition on public consumption would only serve to tie up police resources to enforce it.