Calgary to examine 4 public marijuana consumption sites

The sites are meant to address a legislative shortfall, where cannabis is legal but it's not allowed to be consumed in public, in condos and apartment buildings or in hotels.

Move is meant to address a legislative shortfall where only homeowners and their guests can use the drug

As it stands, it's almost impossible for anyone other than homeowners to legally consume marijuana. (Thomas Samson/AFP/Getty Images)

The City of Calgary is looking at four potential public cannabis consumption sites and wants public feedback.

The sites are meant to address a legislative shortfall, where cannabis is legal but it's not allowed to be consumed in public, or in hotels. Condos and apartment buildings can elect to ban consumption or not. 

Under Calgary legislation, a ward can be considered for a site only if it's requested by the local councillor. In this case, all four areas are in the ward of Coun. Gian-Carlo Carra, the only one of 14 council members to make a request.

"I did so, I guess, because I believe fully that you need to have a legal way to use, enjoy, consume a legal substance," he said when asked why he was leading the charge. 

"I'm a little bit concerned that the legalization of cannabis that's being rolled out by the federal and provincial governments has not created the opportunity for lounges and places like that to exist."

The sites

Carra said it's a conversation that will eventually have to take place across the city, in every ward and neighbourhood. 

The four proposed consumption sites are:

Inglewood:

  • Green space at 11th Avenue S.E., between 11th and 12th Streets.
  • Green space adjacent to Wildlands parking lot on Ninth Avenue S.E. past 22nd Street.

Bridgeland:

  • Murdoch Park, on the southern end of 7A Street N.E.

Ogden:

  • Green space located north of shopping plaza at Glenmore Trail and Ogden Road S.E.

The sites were selected based on criteria including distance from schools and areas frequented by children, and not being in off-leash or natural areas. 

Public feedback 

The city is asking for public feedback on the potential consumption sites until Sept. 7 either online or by filling out a feedback form at sounding boards located at each site. 

 "We're expecting a fairly big response," said Matt Zabloski, the lead for Calgary's cannabis legalization project.

"Obviously cannabis is becoming more and more on people's radar and we're assuming there's a lot of Calgarians that are going to be very interested in what happens from here."

Carra, who said he's undecided on the issue, is also interested in hearing the feedback. 

"We're going to get to a point where we say this makes sense, or it doesn't make sense. And we're going to have to wait for the provincial and federal governments to create environments were legal, private consumption sites are created so that those people who rent or those who own condos or those people who are staying in hotel rooms where they don't have the right to legally consume cannabis within the four walls of their domicile, will have a place where they can if they choose to."

Citizen feedback will be presented to city council on Oct. 9, eight days before legalization takes effect. The public is also invited to speak at that meeting. 

​With files from The Canadian Press.

Corrections

  • A previous version of this story said marijuana consumption would be prohibited in apartments and condos. In fact, it is up to each building to determine whether or not to restrict marijuana use.
    Aug 28, 2018 9:43 AM MT