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Ward 8 News: Calgary's Cannabis Legislation

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Ward 8 official website

 

 
 
On April 5th at the Combined Meeting of Council, my colleagues and I discussed and debated bylaws related to the public consumption of recreational cannabis.

 

As many of you know, the Federal Government intends to make the sale and consumption of cannabis legal in Canada this summer. Smoking is the most common way to consume cannabis and that trend will likely continue. Edibles, or food products made with concentrated cannabis oils, are set to become legal in 2019, but this type of consumption is not as common.

As a City Councillor in Ward 8, I know that 70% of my constituents rent their homes. Throughout the debate on public consumption of recreational cannabis, I advocated for residents of Calgary who live in multi-family dwellings and renters who are bound by their leases, which do not allow smoking. This means that once recreational cannabis consumption becomes legal, these people will effectively not be able to consume cannabis in via smoking (or vaping). I also shared my concerns for visitors to our city and the message it sends when they realize they are not able to consume cannabis outdoors or on the premises of their hotel, many of which are completely non-smoking. Tourism and business travel are major economic drivers in Calgary and we want to encourage people to visit our great city, not push them away with unfriendly bylaws that stigmatize legal activities.

Many people have reached out to my office through social media or email with their support for social cannabis clubs and I also share support for these venues, however, as it currently stands, we have not developed legislation for cannabis lounges or any other public cannabis consumption areas. This is work we still need to do.

Over the last year-and-a-half, the City has done thorough engagement on recreational cannabis and we heard from nearly 15,000 Calgarians. Online engagement showed only 19% said it should be like the rules for drinking alcohol in public. Whereas over 60% felt it should be treated the same as smoking and 42% said that it should be less restrictive than Alberta’s liquor laws for public consumption.

So, where do we go from here?

I will be working to include provisions in our bylaws to allow for public consumption of recreational cannabis. I will continue to enlighten my colleagues as to why this is important to me and to residents in Ward 8. I want to put Ward 8 neighbhourhoods first by making it possible for all residents to consume cannabis safely and legally.


This content represents the personal views and opinions of the Ward Councillor and should not be taken as a statement of policy of The City of Calgary. The inclusion of any external content does not imply endorsement by The City of Calgary.
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