Pubdate: Fri, 23 Feb 2018
Source: Edmonton Sun (CN AB)
Copyright: 2018 Canoe Limited Partnership.
Author: Hina Alam
Page: 7


Much like a self-learning robot that improves with every step,
Edmonton city hall hopes to tweak recreational cannabis bylaws now,
and after it is legalized.

"We're still in a little bit of a state of confusion or complexity as
to the way it'll all shake down as far as where can the stores be
located," Ward 6 Coun. Scott McKeen said Wednesday. "I suspect we'll
continue to struggle with these for a couple of years as we tweak the
regulations and make sure we get things right."

City officials are grappling with issues such as the distance between
stores, and parks, schools or playground; how close they should be to
liquor stores; and what is a reasonable distance between a pub and a

Late last year, the city conducted an online survey that received more
than 4,100 replies about location of cannabis stores, and public
smoking and vaping of cannabis.

The survey showed about 60 per cent of the people wanted cannabis
stores to be more than 200 metres from schools, community centres,
playgrounds and parks. About 65 per cent of respondents said stores
should be on main streets with a mix of commercial uses and good
access to transit, such as Whyte Avenue or 124 Street.

Mckeen said just as the city doesn't allow people to walk around with
"a beer or margarita in their hand," so does the question arise as to
what is the right way to consume cannabis in public.

"The first blush will be people smoking cannabis on the sidewalks,"
McKeen said. "I'm a little concerned about that. Modern pot really
stinks. I'm old enough to remember when it didn't have this skunk
smell to it. There maybe a bit of a nuisance factor. We can't, in
effect, make it impossible to consume if it is legal."

He said city officials haven't figured out all the unintended
consequences of the legalization of marijuana and foresees tweaking
almost annually of laws and bylaws.

"Like our smoking bylaw over the years, it got a little more
sophisticated with each turn, got a little more restrictive with each
turn, but what we don't want to see is people blowing reefers in a
playground," he said.

In fairness, he added, most cities are struggling to find the right
way to deal with this.

One of the goals of legalization was to wipe out the illegal drug
trade, but the police seem skeptical that will happen, he said.

"I frankly don't have all the answers," McKeen said. "Will we get it
right this summer? No. We will have to tweak our bylaws more and more
along the way."
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