Pubdate: Sat, 08 Jul 2017
Source: Calgary Herald (CN AB)
Copyright: 2017 Postmedia Network
Author: Annalise Klingbeil
Page: A3


Calgary's mayor blasted Canada Day as "the stupidest possible day" for
the federal government to make cannabis legal and said he believes
Albertans should be 21 before they're allowed to purchase marijuana
for recreational use.

Nenshi made the comments at a committee meeting on Thursday, at which
elected officials attempted to grapple with the looming federal
legalization of marijuana and agreed not to make any decisions when it
comes to a stance on the minimum legal age of purchase in Alberta.

"I'm ... advocating very, very hard with the federal government that
July 1 is the stupidest possible day," Nenshi said to colleagues.

"Bluntly, I've got a half million people on the street on the first of
July and I don't want a whole bunch of people, for the first time
ever, going, 'Oh let's try this.'"

Nenshi later told reporters he may be overly paranoid, but he simply
doesn't feel like a public holiday is the best day to introduce such a
major policy change.

At the meeting, elected officials also discussed how old Albertans
should be before they can legally purchase marijuana - the proposed
law tabled by the Trudeau government would allow Canadians over 18 to
possess cannabis, though the federal bill provides provinces with the
authority to set their own age limits.

"I'm very convinced by the science that says the use of cannabis on
the developing brain is really a problem up until the early to
mid20s," said Nenshi, who believes 21 should be the legal minimum age.

The Canadian Psychiatric Association recommends that Canadians should
be 21 before they're allowed to purchase marijuana for recreational

But Ward 11 Coun. Brian Pincott said he's not concerned about setting
the minimum age of purchase at 18, which is the same age Albertans can
legally purchase and consume alcohol and tobacco.

"I have no problem with it being 18, I actually think that's probably
the most reasonable way to go," Pincott said.

The province is currently gauging public opinion on key cannabis
questions, including a minimum age, and has agreed to share
Calgary-specific data with the city.

The city committee agreed Thursday that until both the broader
consequences of minimum age and Calgarians views are better
understood, city council will not advocate for a specific age at which
Albertans can legally purchase weed.

Nenshi also said that as a university professor, he has concerns with
dispensaries and lounges popping up on post-secondary campuses.

"I don't want to see dispensaries on campus, I'd prefer not to see
cannabis lounges on campus. That's a very personal point of view, it's
not the city's point of view, but I'd like to see a regulatory regime
that makes that difficult," the mayor said, noting the city doesn't
have the ability to stop either from opening on provincially-owned
university campuses.
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MAP posted-by: Matt