Pubdate: Tue, 07 Feb 2017
Source: Calgary Herald (CN AB)
Copyright: 2017 Postmedia Network
Author: Annalise Klingbeil
Page: A3


Nenshi wants city prepared for legalization

Denver's Dan Rowland advised Calgary's city council to go slow, expect
the unexpected, and introduce strict regulations and robust
enforcement as Calgary prepares for the looming federal legalization
of marijuana.

Denver, Colorado became the first city in the world to legalize
recreational marijuana sales on January 1, 2014, and Rowland was in
Calgary Monday to share what his city has learned at a lengthy council
education session on the drug.

"Part of what I do is to help folks understand that this is not
necessarily a game-changing experience," said Rowland, a citywide
communications adviser with the city of Denver.

"This is something that's been coming for a long time, and a city can
handle it and implement it in a way that makes sense for their city."

In the three years since social weed was legalized in Denver, the
American city has collected extensive data, which Rowland shared with
council, on topics including gross sales, marijuana-related revenues,
crime, impaired driving citations, and economic impact.

After presenting to council and answering many questions, Rowland
hosted a panel discussion in council chambers with the owner of a
local medical marijuana clinic, a doctor at the University of Calgary,
Alberta Health Services' medical director for public health in
Calgary, and a Calgary Police Service staff sergeant.

Jeff Mooji, the owner of Inglewood's 420 Clinic, told council
marijuana today is about a range of products like patches, oils and

"The future of this is not the stigma that's attached to every media
ad that we see, with a kid with his hat on sideways smoking a big
fattie. That's just not the future of this. That's the old days," he

Councillors labelled the education session fascinating and Mayor
Naheed Nenshi said the day was about ensuring Calgary is prepared when
the Trudeau government introduces legislation to legalize marijuana.

"It's very clear that the federal government is going to move on this
file, whether you like it or not, so we don't want to be caught
flatfooted as a city," he said.

Nenshi said it's important the city now get started on regulation
work, including rules concerning where businesses that sell marijuana
are allowed to operate.

The mayor also said the three main areas he's concerned about as
legalization looms are building code rules, public nuisance issues and
the location of retail outlets.

The Canada-wide legislation to legalize marijuana is expected to be
introduced this spring and a potential bill could pass as early as the
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