Pubdate: Sat, 17 Feb 2018
Source: Calgary Herald (CN AB)
Copyright: 2018 Postmedia Network
Page: A14


Calgarians are demonstrating strong common sense when it comes to
offering advice on how marijuana should be regulated. The drug will be
legalized by the federal government on July 1, but it's been left to
cities to determine where pot smoking will be permitted. A survey
prepared for the city by Environics Research finds that approximately
55 per cent of Calgarians believe marijuana consumption should be
treated more like alcohol, rather than regarded as a product similar
to tobacco.

Such a conclusion is prudent and would mean that pot couldn't be
smoked in public, just as imbibers can't drink beer and other alcohol
in public. It's difficult to imagine people walking down the street
with a glass of wine in their hand - it's equally troublesome to
picture a group of Calgarians sharing a joint as they meander down the

The survey discovered only 32 per cent of survey respondents felt
marijuana should be treated like tobacco.

"It's not like tobacco, and those who want to treat it like tobacco
are probably the ones who want to smoke it anywhere," says Coun. Shane
Keating, who agrees with the majority view.

"It's not a cigarette, it's a drug, and therefore, it has to be
treated as a drug. That means no participating in them in public in
any way, shape or form."

Keating added the odour of pot is different than ordinary cigarette
smoke, saying it should be kept away from public spaces so others
won't have to deal with the "rather bad smell." That's sound advice.

The research was conducted using telephone surveys in November of more
than 1,000 Calgarians 18 years or older, along with five focus groups,
which included opponents of legalization and recreational and medical
marijuana users. Environics Research also engaged in 30 in-depth
interviews last month of Calgarians who plan to be involved in
cannabis production or its sale.

The legalization of marijuana was among Justin Trudeau's pledges
during the 2015 federal election. There are many wrinkles still to be
worked out before July 1 - not the least being a reliable roadside
test to identify drivers who are impaired by the drug - but it's
encouraging that city hall has a good understanding of Calgarians'

Smoking pot might be acceptable in homeowners' residences and
backyards, but it's not something that should occur in public areas.
Calgarians' views were solicited and they should be reflected in the
regulations that will inevitably have to be crafted by city hall in
the months ahead.
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