FREDERICTON (GNB) – An amendment to the Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods Act, introduced today, would add illegal cannabis to the list of activities that can be reported for investigation.

“The federal decriminalizing of cannabis has limited our ability to effectively use this legislation when dealing with properties engaged in illegal cannabis-related activities,” said Public Safety Minister Carl Urquhart. “This amendment would ensure the continued provision of a civil legal process to shut down such properties.”

The intent of the safer communities legislation is to protect against the harmful effects of specified illegal activities including the use of properties for selling illegal drugs, which prior to October 2018 included cannabis.

Cannabis remains a regulated commodity under federal legislation. The Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods Act currently covers other regulated commodities and activities, such as the unlawful sale of liquor and illegal gaming.

The proposed amendment would add to the definition of specified use, the possession, consumption, purchase, sale, distribution or cultivation of cannabis in contravention of federal legislation.

“We are concerned about illegal cannabis-related activities,” said Urquhart. “This amendment will ensure that residents who have concerns regarding these activities can make a confidential complaint for investigation.”

The Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods Act provides for a confidential complaint-driven process which holds both commercial and residential property owners and their tenants accountable for specific illegal activities that have been proven to be habitually occurring and have adversely affected the health, safety or security of any individual or group in a community or neighbourhood. It targets and, if necessary, shuts down properties, including lands, through a civil legal process.

Complaints of illegal activities can be made by calling 1-877-826-2122 or SCAN@gnb.ca. More information about the legislation is available online.