Months away from national legal recreational marijuana, this city in Canada wants to ban all public cannabis consumption. Lawmakers in Calgary, the capital and largest city in Alberta, and hoping to pass a bylaw that would only allow marijuana smoking indoors.
If approved, Calgary residents would face $50 to $100 in fines in caught smoking marijuana outside. The only place where residents would be able to consumer cannabis would be a private home.
If passed by a council committee, this law would strictly limit legal cannabis consumption. If you live in an apartment or don’t own your home, you may not be able to smoke indoors in the first place.
This legislation would not apply to those with medical marijuana licenses or to specifically designated ‘cannabis gardens’. The concept behind these spaces is similar to a beer garden. They will also be strictly regulated.
So far, the rule for a cannabis smoking area is that it has to be separate from beer and cigarette designed areas.
You’ll also have to bring your own weed because Alberta law dictates that you can’t smoke cannabis in the same place where you bought it.
This law will be difficult, and probably costly, to enforce. How do you distinguish between medical and recreational users? To police everyone smoking marijuana outside will require more police and more government funds.
Les Hagen, described as a tobacco control advocate by the Calgary Herald, argues, “We think it’s [the bylaw] impractical. It’ll lead to widespread violations and stigmatization as well. Anyone who is using cannabis in public, it will be seen as breaking the law.”
Not only does would this legislation be difficult to enforce, but it would also stigmatize a substance that will be completely legal by the end of the summer. This is just one example of how provincial governments are discriminating against cannabis, despite upcoming legalization.
Others are critiquing this measure for unjustly limited legal cannabis consumption for those living in shared spaces and for those who do not own homes.
City Council member Shane Keating supports this legislation but believes that the city should create spaces for outdoor marijuana use. Keating explains, “I have no sympathy for those who deem that they have to smoke cannabis regardless of how it affects others around them.”
This does not, however, mean that Keating is completely against cannabis. He believes that edibles and inhalers are a better solution, though the former won’t be legal until 2019.
Keating is in favor of cannabis-specific locations, describing, “There may need to be certain places where you consume it like a lounge.” This sort of policy is already in place in Ontario.
This city in Canada wants to ban all public cannabis consumption, though its residents are conflicted on the matter. In a report on cannabis published in February, 55 percent of Calgary residents surveyed supported regulating marijuana like alcohol. This would mean barring public consumption. Only 32 percent voted to treat cannabis like tobacco in public places.
Contrastingly, 43 percent those surveyed in late 2017 voted to permit outdoor cannabis use. 19 percent of Calgary residents in that survey hoped that cannabis would be controlled like alcohol.
Next week, a committee will decide on the legislation that would ban public marijuana consumption in Calgary.
Considering the restriction already placed on indoor cannabis consumption, some are saying that this bylaw is impractical. It would also be a step in the wrong direction in terms of cannabis tolerance.
With Calgary residents divided on the issue of outdoor smoking, we’ll have to wait and see what happens next week.
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Originally appeared in: https://hightimes.com/news/city-canada-wants-ban-all-public-cannabis-consumption/