The City of Calgary, Alberta may have four legal public consumption areas when Canada legalizes the recreational use and sale of cannabis later this year. All four sites under consideration by the city council are in Ward 9.
Gian-Carlo Carra, city council member of Ward 9, told the CBC that he proposed the consumption sites to make cannabis legal for all Canadians. Under Bill C-45, the country’s legalization measure, cannabis may not be consumed in public, or in apartment buildings, condominiums, and hotels. The restrictions effectively keep recreational cannabis illegal for all except homeowners and their guests.
“I did so, I guess, because I believe fully that you need to have a legal way to use, enjoy, consume a legal substance,” Carra said.
Under Calgary cannabis regulations, a city ward may be considered for public consumption sites at the request of the ward’s council member. Carra was the only one to do so.
Carra added that he believed legalization measures should include provisions for cannabis consumption clubs and similar businesses.
“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,” Carra said.
City Seeks Public Comments
The city is currently accepting public comments on the proposed consumption sites. Comments may be submitted until September 7 online or in writing at the proposed locations.
Cannabis legalization activist Matt Zabloski said that he believes the proposal will be popular.
“We’re expecting a fairly big response,” said Zabloski. “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.”
Council member Carra has not yet decided on the proposal but believes that residents of all wards and neighborhoods should be discussing the issue.
“We’re going to get to a point where we say this makes sense, or it doesn’t make sense,” said Carra. “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.”
The Proposed Sites
The four Ward 9 legal cannabis consumption sites were selected based on city requirements that included the locations’ distance from schools and the exclusion of areas frequented by children and natural or off-leash sites. The specific locations are:
- 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.
- Murdoch Park, on the southern end of 7A Street N.E.
- Green space located north of shopping plaza at Glenmore Trail and Ogden Road S.E.
Council to Act in October
Calgary’s city council will accept the public feedback now being collected at its meeting scheduled for October 9, eight days before federal cannabis legalization takes effect. The public is also invited to comment in person on the proposed cannabis public consumption sites at the meeting.