City of Calgary floats idea of cannabis use ban in public spaces

Proposed Calgary bylaw would ban marijuana consumption in public
WATCH: A proposed Calgary bylaw would prohibit marijuana from being consumed in public places like sidewalks and parks. Blake Lough reports.

A city administration report is floating the idea of banning the use of cannabis in public spaces in Calgary.

This would limit cannabis use mostly to private property, such as homes. This goes beyond current provincial and federal regulations.

Ward 12 Councillor Shane Keating suggested it could also be banned in condo buildings.

“We’re trying to be as courteous as we can to the general population, look after the youth and still give as much freedom as we can,” he said.

“I can stand within a few feet of someone smoking a cigarette and I may not notice it. If you’re within a few feet of someone smoking a joint, you notice it quite strongly. And that’s the difference.”

LISTEN: Shane Keating on the possibility that Calgary city council would approve a proposed ban on cannabis use in public spaces

READ MORE: What did 15,000 Calgarians have to say about legalizing marijuana?

The report recommends some exemptions to the bylaw, such as for those who use cannabis for medical treatment.
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“However, persons who smoke or vape medical cannabis would still be subject to both the proposed Smoking and Vaping Bylaw as well as the provincial cannabis consumption regulations,” the report said.

Another bylaw exemption would be for certain public events. It would follow the same type of rules that govern “beer garden” spaces. However, these “cannabis gardens” would have to be kept separate from actual beer gardens and designated tobacco smoking areas.

Keating said Thursday he would welcome cannabis lounges, but said it is easier to “inch into the true and open regulation” rather than opening the door and realizing: “Oh, this isn’t working. I guess we have to start closing it.”

“Per provincial regulations, ‘cannabis gardens’ would not allow for the consumption of cannabis where it is sold,” the report said. “Consumers would be required to bring their own cannabis to these events.”

The Community and Protective Services committee will look at the report on April 3.