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Volume 23, Number 23, Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Fort delays

cannabis decision

I don't agree the proposal to outlaw smoking in all public places for the sake of better control of cannabis consumption.

I recognize it will be difficult for police to go into a crowd and pick out those smoking cannabis from those smoking tobacco, but I just don't feel this is a serious need.

Cannabis is about to become legal. When it does, it will be just another controlled substance like alcohol and tobacco. Consuming it will be more a matter of controlling public peace than an urgent criminal matter.

Smoking causes a great deal of harm, but not to those who avoid it. That is why we have rules preventing smokers from harming others through second-hand smoke.

We are therefore allowed to smoke in public, so long as no harm is being done to others.

Alcohol consumption rules are mostly a handover from the temperance movement. When total prohibition failed, rules on  where and when alcohol could be consumed were added.

Drinking and driving aside, the laws against consumption of alcohol in public are used mostly to control troublesome groups or individuals. Those consuming alcohol quietly, discreetly and in moderation are rarely bothered even if they do so in a public place.

Putting a ban on all smoking in public places is the equivalent of banning consumption of all liquids in public places. It might make it easier to enforce the ban on cannabis consumption, but it is an unreasonable restriction on personal liberty.

Those that advocate for this extreme measure are putting control above all things. It also seems to me there is a real flavour of the temperance movement in this and a failure to accept that cannabis will no longer be illegal.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

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Time to accept cannabis as normal

Local laws about cannabis are still up in the air.

City Council delayed approval this week on a new smoking bylaw that would have made it illegal to smoke or consume cannabis in a public place except for medical cannabis users.

Councillor Deanna Lennox asked for more information about the possibility of a full ban on all smoking in public places while still accommodating medical cannabis users.

Council agreed with her request, that will not bring the bylaw back for consideration until August 28.

Local police would like a total ban on smoking because it would be easier to enforce than a bylaw that only restricts cannabis consumption while permitting tobacco, says Protective Services Director Brad Ward.

Representatives from Action on Smoking and Health, and Alberta Health Services also urged a ban on all smoking in public places.

Council did approve new development rules for cannabis retailers, production and distribution facilities.

Pot stores will be allowed in most commercial districts except for neighbourhood commercial areas such as Westview Plaza and the new commercial site recently approved for Southfort and Sienna.

Fort officials will also have the ability to refuse any permit, as cannabis stores will only be a discretionary use.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018