Pubdate: Fri, 05 Aug 2016
Source: Metro (Calgary, CN AB)
Page: 6
Copyright: 2016 Metro Canada
Author: Helen Pike


Legalized Pot Could Mean Changes to City Regulations

Calgary's smoking bylaw may not yet pass the puff test when it comes 
to marijuana regulation.

On Wednesday, a Calgary woman facing several charges for smoking in a 
bus shelter didn't pay a cent to the city because she was medicating 
with medical marijuana.

Her lawyer pointed out part of the reason the city withdrew charges 
was because of the tobacco laden language in the bylaw.

The city's smoking bylaw, which bans puffing in public places, was 
passed in 2006 and reinforced by the Tobacco Reduction act in 2008. 
But pot isn't tobacco. According to the city's chief bylaw officer 
Alvin Murray there's no section or listed exemption for medical 
marijuana or recreational use, because the bylaw simply isn't about 
marijuana at all.

And that's why the City of Calgary is now actively working with all 
levels of government to have their say while the feds inch towards 
legalizing marijuana.

"The federal government is working on a paper to potentially legalize 
the use of marijuana, the current city smoking bylaw covers the use 
of tobacco products, but doesn't include marijuana," Murray said. 
"We're helping the federal government understand any impacts that may 
be at a municipal level."

Murray said the city isn't waiting, they're actively engaged in 
assisting with input. But so far, his first meeting on the matter was Thursday.

In its current state, the bylaw states: "no person shall carry or 
possess a lit cigarette, cigar or pipe, or burn tobacco in any manner 
or use an electronic smoking device."

If legalized, Murray said pot could come with many changes for the 
city's current bylaws including land-use designations for 
dispensaries. But the extent of the bylaw tweaks - if any - aren't known yet.

But he said the city is ready to point out things the feds will need 
to look at and address when they consider rolling out legislation.

"You're talking from a policing point of view, there could be 
criminal impacts," Murray said. His list of possible implications 
included transit, parks and many other city regulated facades. 
"There's many, many aspects that will come to light if this moves forward."
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