Pubdate: Sun, 05 Nov 2017
Source: Edmonton Sun (CN AB)
Copyright: 2017 Canoe Limited Partnership.
Author: Doug Johnson
Page: 4


As the province and city ponder their pot policies, how and if
Edmontonians will be able to smoke marijuana at festivals is still up
in the air.

The province's proposed framework treats the inhalation of cannabis in
public much like tobacco products, with the added caveat that it can't
be used near schools and hospitals or in vehicles.

The specifics on how pot will be consumed in public and on festival
grounds will ultimately depend on how the different levels of
government roll out legislation.

The Edmonton Folk Music Festival, like many others in the city, sells
alcohol in areas cordoned off by fences, but has no plans to sell
smokable or edible marijuana.

"I'm not going to take on the liability of selling it and all that,"
said festival producer Terry Wickham, adding that security volunteers
likely won't confiscate the substance at the gate once it's legal.

Wickham is considering allowing its use in some of the festival's
designated smoking areas, although he said people puffing pot and
tobacco might take exception to inhaling each other's smoke.

The Edmonton event will be held after folk festivals in Calgary,
Vancouver and Winnipeg.

"We'll be able to see where things go wrong, or when things go right,"
Wickham said.

Other local gatherings likely won't allow cannabis consumption
anywhere on their grounds.

Edmonton's Silver Skate Festival, for instance, draws a lot of kids
and senior citizens. While the winter event does sell alcohol,
organizers don't foresee creating areas for marijuana smokers in the
near future.

"I personally have no issue of it, but we need to be mindful of the
demographics and people who come down to the festival," executive
producer Erin DiLoreto said.

While the Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival will pay
attention to future pot developments, it probably won't have a
smoke-pit for marijuana anytime soon, artistic director Murray Utas

"I don't foresee a place right now for the consumption of cannabis in
the immediate future."

Tobacco smokers at the Fringe need to go off-site to get their fix,
and pot smokers will likely need to do the same, he said.

Rob Smyth, Edmonton's deputy city manager for citizen services, said
in an email that bylaws will need to be reviewed based on provincial

These include the public places bylaw, which covers smoking in public,
and the community standards bylaw that deals with odours, he said.

"This is ongoing work and we still need to go out to the community for
feedback and back to council as necessary."

The city is holding public engagement sessions related to legalized
cannabis - including consumption in public - at several venues from
Nov. 14 to Dec. 7.

In the meantime, illicit pot use at festivals will probably

Wickham doesn't have exact numbers, but he knows people light up on
the hills around folk fest stages, and DiLorento has seen it at Silver

"I'm going to be honest with you, there are pot smoke pits all over
festival grounds, they're just (not legal)," she said.

"If people are going to do it, they're going to do it."
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