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Caregivers banned from smoking, growing cannabis around children-in-care: MCFD

Ministry has limited cannabis use for caregivers, stating it may “pose a risk to children and youth.”

The Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) has limited cannabis consumption for caregivers.

Foster Parent Support Services Society (FPSSS), under the Ministry of Children and Family Development’s direction, has released newly amended policies surrounding cannabis legalization. The new policies are in anticipation of cannabis legalization on Oct. 17.

In FPSSS’ release, the society stated that MCFD “drafted/amended policy in consideration of the health and safety of the children and youth in our care and to align with the Province’s new cannabis legalization.”

For those directly involved in child care, MCFD has decided that “home cultivation of non-medical cannabis is banned in dwellings used as licensed child care.” The ministry also added that smoking or vaping cannabis within homes, cars, or other “enclosed spaces” with children present is prohibited for caregivers.

The newly amended policy will allow the ministry “to do a case-by-case assessment” for those foster caregivers and prospective adoptive families looking to grow cannabis. MCFD will also be able “to restrict the presence of cannabis in a home based on the particular needs of the child/youth in care,” the release added.

For those BC residents employed by MCFD for residential care, the policy will limit staff from cultivating in “the home in which the caretaker is employed.”

MCFD has also determined cannabis edibles are off limits as well since federal legislation has yet to cover it.

“Edibles may pose a risk to children and youth given that food items made with cannabis … are often indistinguishable from non-cannabis based food products,” the ministry said. Cannabis and cannabis products will be treated much the same as alcohol and tobacco within foster homes.

If a caretaker does, however, decide to make their own edible products, the ministry added, “the products must be safely and securely stored in a manner that is inaccessible to children/youth in the home.” MCFD workers will be delegated to ensure caretakers are storing the cannabis plants and products properly.

Cannabis legalization will allow BC residents over 19 years old to possess, purchase, grow and consume cannabis. Online cannabis sales will also be available through privately run retail stores or government-operated retail stores. Those over 19 years old will also be able to possess over 30 grams (a little over one ounce) of non-medical cannabis.

Adults will also be able to smoke or vape cannabis in public spaces, given tobacco smoking and vaping are allowed. Bans are in place for most municipalities, however, for smoking in parks, playgrounds, or other areas used by children. BC residents over 19 years old will also be allowed to grow up to four cannabis plants at a time in one household, given that the plants are not visible from public spaces.

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