Calgary

Calgary council votes to allow designated cannabis consumption sites

The city fine-tuned its regulations for public consumption of cannabis on Monday, voting to set up a process for designating some areas for vaping and smoking pot.

Councillors also approve plan to let festivalgoers use marijuana in separate areas

Calgary city council has approved a process for allowing the designation of some areas in the city where the rules against vaping and smoking pot in public will be waived. (CBC)

The city fine-tuned its regulations for public consumption of cannabis on Monday, voting to set up a process for designating some areas for vaping and smoking pot.

These areas would be exempt from the Cannabis Consumption Bylaw, which prohibits public consumption in all forms, the city said in a release.

Ward councillors and area residents would discuss proposed sites at public council hearings.

"The viability of potential designated spaces would be measured through criteria which address providing suitable, defined spaces while also considering the overall well-being of communities," the city said.

The city also voted Monday to allow for designated cannabis consumption sites at festivals and events, provided they are fully monitored and separated from the main gathering area.

"Festival attendees will have the opportunity to consume cannabis in a viable, defined area without the concern of being ticketed," the city said.

"Potential impacts to youth and festivalgoers who wish to avoid exposure to cannabis will be reduced."

Each application will be reviewed by the city's interdepartmental events team, which has representatives from Alberta Health Services, the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission and more than 20 other city departments, including recreation, corporate security, police, fire and the Calgary Emergency Management Agency.

Since provincial rules forbid smoking or vaping in enclosed spaces, including tents, the designated areas at festivals and events will have to be in open-air, fenced sites.

The city will monitor how well the system works for one year and then report back to the standing policy committee on community and protective services in the fourth quarter of 2019 with any recommended adjustments.

Council also approved an amendment  to allow for smoking or vaping tobacco in the designated cannabis areas at festivals and events.

A mandated 30-metre separation between a cannabis store and pawn shops, payday loan shops and places of worship was approved as well.

There are 241 applications to open cannabis stores on file with the city.


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