Pubdate: Fri, 07 Jul 2017
Source: Fort McMurray Today (CN AB)
Copyright: 2017 Fort McMurray Today
Author: Vincent McDermott
Page: A3


With marijuana expected to be legalized across Canada in 2018,
Councillor Sheldon Germain wants the municipality to begin researching
possible restrictions on its legal use within Wood Buffalo.

The motion, which will be introduced at next Tuesday's council meeting
by Germain, will direct administration to examine amending bylaws on
how and where marijuana can be sold and consumed within Wood Buffalo.

If the motion is passed, staff will research and develop "strategic
initiatives" establishing parameters for where cannabis dispensaries
can be established.

The motion will also direct staff to research developing restrictions
on smoking cannabis, "cannabis-based products" or related products
near "schools, playgrounds, parks, child care centres, places of
worship, community centres and at any public events."

"We need to be cognizant there likely will be the desire by some to
have cannabis dispensaries and places of sale in the community," said
Germain on Thursday morning. "We have seen this in other communities
and cities across the country, and we can expect that Fort McMurray
and Wood Buffalo will be no different."

In April, the federal government released its plan for the legal sale
and use of marijuana, which is expected to be legal by July 2018.

The new law, if passed, would allow adults over the age of 18 to
possess up to 30 grams of cannabis or its equivalent in public, and
share with any other adults.

It would also allow the purchase of cannabis and cannabis oil from a
provincially regulated retailer, and the possession of up to four
plants per residence for personal use.

Selling cannabis to youth would remain illegal with new penalties
ranging from a police citation to up to 14 years imprisonment.

"Obviously, any recommendations or eventual outcomes need to be
aligned with federal and provincial laws and regulations and will need
to evolve with those processes," said Germain. "This is about guiding
our municipality to be proactive and responsible, understanding
cannabis is going to be legalized across the country."

Germain is not the first person in the Wood Buffalo area to raise
concerns about the distribution and consumption of marijuana locally.

Enform, an oil and gas industry safety group based in Calgary, is
pressing federal and provincial governments to ban marijuana in
hazardous workplaces, and permit employers to adopt zero-tolerance
policies on its use.

"If people in safety-sensitive positions, or safety-sensitive
projects or work, are not competent to do the work, a catastrophic
event could unfold," said Cameron MacGillivray, Enform's chief
executive, in an interview with the Calgary Herald days after the
legislation was announced. "That's the sort of thing that causes great
concern to the industry."
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