Q&A - Drinking Alcohol or Smoking Marihuana in a Limousine or Party Bus

Q&A ImageQUESTION: I drive stretch limousine part time. One of the attractions of renting a stretch limo is for the customers being able to relax in the rear having a social drink in relative privacy (because the windows are heavily tinted and the barrier can be up to separate the driver from the guests) while a professional chauffeur cruises them around.

I am wondering how legal such a scenario is and if the driver, limo company or the drinking riders in the back can be charged if stopped by an officer of the law? I am fairly comfortable with the above situation but one that makes me very uneasy is to be hired to transport a half a dozen young people around, liquor is present, and the majority of them are under the legal drinking age. Again, who is responsible in such a case: the driver, the limo owner or those in the back that are over 19 and are drinking with the minors?

In both cases the liquor is brought on board by the customer so the driver nor the limo owner do not supply the booze. A small table and glasses are provided in the back to enable the customers to enjoy their refreshments, either non-alcoholic or otherwise.

ANSWER: There are two scenarios to consider here, the use of liquor and the use of cannabis (marihuana).

Liquor

British Columbia's Liquor Control and Licensing Act is the law in this situation:

"public place" includes a place, building or vehicle to which the public is invited or has or is allowed access;

Unlawful possession or consumption of liquor

73 (1) A person must not consume liquor, or possess liquor in an open container, in a place other than

(a) a residence,

(b) a private place,

(c) a service area in respect of which a licence, authorization or permit allows consumption,

(d) as provided under section 11,

(e) as provided under subsections (2) to (4) of this section,

(f) an assisted living residence, community care facility, hospital or other prescribed facility as provided in section 9, or

(g) in a liquor store as allowed under the Liquor Distribution Act.

(2) Subject to subsection (3) and the regulations, a municipality, a regional district or the Park Board, established under section 485 of the Vancouver Charter, may, by bylaw, designate a public place over which it has jurisdiction, or part of such a place, as a place where liquor may be consumed.

(3) A bylaw under subsection (2) must contain the hours during which liquor may be consumed.

(4) Without limiting subsection (2), regulations under that subsection may provide that a bylaw referred to in that subsection may not designate

(a) a specified public place, or

(b) a specified public place for a specified period of time.

Liquor in motor vehicle

76 (1) In this section, "motor vehicle" has the same meaning as in the Motor Vehicle Act, and includes an off-road vehicle within the meaning of the Off-Road Vehicle Act.

(2) Subject to subsection (3), a person must not drive or otherwise exercise control over the operation of a motor vehicle, whether or not it is in motion, while there is liquor in the person's possession or in the motor vehicle.

(3) Subsection (2) does not apply

(a) if the liquor is in a container that is unopened and has an unbroken seal,

(b) if the liquor is being transported, sold or served in accordance with the terms and conditions of a licence, authorization or permit, or

(c) in any other case, if the liquor is not readily accessible by the driver and passengers.

Supplying liquor to minors

77 (1) Subject to the regulations, a person must not

(c) allow a minor to consume or possess liquor in or at a place under the person's control.

(2) For the purposes of subsection (1) (b), possession includes a circumstance where the person knowingly has the liquor

(a) in the possession of another person, or

(b) in or at a place, whether or not that place belongs to or is occupied by the person.

(3) A person does not contravene this section if the person, in reaching the conclusion that another person is not a minor,

(a) requires that the other person produce prescribed identification, and

(b) examines the identification and has reason to believe it is authentic.

This would make it an offence where the driver of the limousine could be charged if the passengers in the back were consuming liquor, whether the driver was aware of the fact or not. The passengers would be liable as well:

Cannabis

British Columbia's Cannabis Control and Licensing Act is the law in this situation:

Consumption in vehicles and boats

65 (1) A person must not consume cannabis while

(a) operating a vehicle or boat, or

(b) in or on a vehicle or boat being operated by another person.

(2) A person must not operate a vehicle or boat if the person knows that another person is smoking or vaping cannabis in the vehicle or boat.

(3) Subsections (1) and (2) apply regardless of whether the vehicle or boat is in motion.

"public place" means

(a) any place to which the public has access as of right or by invitation, express or implied, whether or not a fee is charged for entry, and

(b) any vehicle or boat located in a place referred to in paragraph (a) or in any outdoor place open to public view;

Indoor smoking and vaping

64 (1)A person must not smoke or vape cannabis in any of the following places that are fully or substantially enclosed within the meaning of the regulations:

(a) a place described in paragraph (a) of the definition of "public place";

Selling or supplying cannabis or cannabis accessories to minors

69 (3) A person must not allow a minor to consume or possess cannabis in or at a place under the person's control.

Note: These circumstances apply to all sorts of transportation, including a party bus.

Penalties

Alcohol

  • section 73 (1) - Consume liquor or possess liquor in an open container in a public place - $230
  • section 76 (2) - Liquor in motor vehicle - $230
  • section 77 (1) (c) - Allow a minor to consume or possess liquor in or at a place under one's control - $575

Cannabis

  • Section 64 (1) - Smoke or hold lighted cannabis in indoor public place, workplace or residential common area - $230
  • Section 64 (1) - Vape cannabis or hold activated cannabis vapour device in indoor public place, workplace or residential common area - $58
  • Section 65 (1) (b) - Consume cannabis in vehicle or boat operated by another person - $230
  • Section 65 (2) - Operate vehicle or boat knowing that another person is smoking or vaping cannabis in it - $230
  • Section 69 (3) - Allow minor to consume or possess cannabis at place under one's control - $575

Reference Links:

Comments

Much responsibility, legally, is on the driver, it seems.

Thanks for updating this.

Just how a C2 or C4 driver is supposed to be cognizant of what's going on behind him/her has to be an issue, should something go wrong. Particularly if they're screened off from the driver cab.

Hopefully the Limo/Bus company will be carrying the necessary insurance to protect them from the actual behaviour of their passengers!

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