October 2018 Newsletter
Greetings Ward 14!
When you are searching for a way to begin one of these columns you usually look for something emblematic of the month you are writing about. You search for something universal. You look for something everyone can relate too.
The leaf is as good an emblem as any for the month of October. Every Calgarian can relate to the leaves changing colour, jumping in a pile of them as a kid, or raking up a pile as an adult. Leaves are going to take on a completely new significance for all Canadians in October of 2018 though, and I am not talking about the ones from a maple tree.
Cannabis - A significant milestone
The date is finally here. We have reached a significant milestone. Buying and smoking cannabis for recreation will be legal in Canada on October 17.
I have always been of the mind that we need to approach this as cautiously as possible, even though we have been forced to react very quickly to direction coming from Ottawa. My view is that it is much easier to loosen regulations than it is to tighten them. No matter how you feel about cannabis, there is no denying it is a matter of public health, and in those matters I would rather err on the side of caution at first.
The City of Calgary has two main responsibilities when it comes to cannabis: creating land use bylaws associated with the sale of cannabis, and creating bylaws that regulate public consumption within Calgary. We have done a lot to prepare for October 17. First, we have been reviewing all the applications for cannabis stores. Some succeeded, some failed, and some are being appealed. If you are interested, here is a handy Cannabis Store Info Map to show you where they all are. Second, we updated our bylaws to allow for designated consumption areas, although you’re not likely to see any soon. Third, we updated our bylaws to allow consumption areas at events and festivals. Each event will be reviewed thoroughly, and we will review the whole program at the end of next festival season.
Although we have reached this milestone, this saga is not over. You can expect to see more changes coming from the Province, and Federal Government. Consumption lounges, and edible cannabis will likely be among them. So I will take a break on this topic for now, but do not be surprised if you find it in this column again.
A quick note on the City’s budget
In November, we will approve the City’s financial plan - and consequently its priorities - for the next four years. I want to take a moment to remind everyone to visit calgary.ca/yourservices, calgary.ca/ourfinances, and contact me if you have any questions or thoughts to share.
-Councillor Peter Demong