CALGARY - A report presented to city council on Monday recommends
allowing marijuana consumption in designated spaces at festivals and
The report, which council had yet to address as of press time, says
making an exception will help to move second-hand smoke away from
people who don't want to partake, while responding to "the current
realities of cannabis consumption at festivals and events.
Earlier in June, when council floated the possibility of modifying
bylaws to allow space for event attendees to smoke marijuana, Calgary
Folk Music Festival executive director Sara Leishman raised concerns
about the additional expense that events would have to take on "with
no opportunity to recoup costs through sales of sponsorship."
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CALGARY - City council approved changes on Monday to allow areas in
Calgary where people can smoke or otherwise consume marijuana in public.
The city's Cannabis Consumption Bylaw prohibits public consumption in
all forms, even after marijuana becomes legal in October. Changes to
the bylaw will allow designated consumption areas both around the city
and at festivals and events.
The city says there are currently no proposed designated cannabis
consumption areas for Calgary's public spaces, but councillors can now
begin identifying potential sites.
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Edmonton police will need about $1.4 million in ongoing and one-time
funding to prepare for marijuana legalization this summer, a report to
the police commission states.
Cannabis is set to become legal in Canada this summer and with it
comes higher policing costs, the Edmonton Police Commission heard Thursday.
Police officials outlined a laundry list of new technology and
training needed to enforce legal weed laws. Last month, the city
approved $1.4 million in one-time and ongoing funding to help the
police service deal with the impact of legal weed.
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Doctors who treat youth have serious concerns about the legalization
With universities and schools providing few details around strategies
for marijuana legalization, doctors who treat youth have serious
concerns about the inevitable increase in use and the impending
impacts of what can be a dangerous drug.
Dr. Chris Wilkes, Alberta Health Services head of child and adolescent
psychiatry, said educators "need to ramp it up" in terms of creating
environments to ensure safety and informing youths about the health
effects of marijuana.
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The decision isn't without controversy, but city council was wise to
ban the use of marijuana in public places.
When the federal government legalizes cannabis later this summer,
Calgarians won't be able to smoke, vape or eat products made with the
substance in public spaces, unless they're a medical marijuana user.
That's led critics of the decision to complain that people who live in
multi-family dwellings may not be able to use the drug.
"It's not an insignificant group of people - 36 per cent of Calgarians
are renters," Coun. Evan Woolley said when the restriction was being
discussed by council. "And effectively, we are saying there is no
space for you to consume cannabis, and that's a problem for me."
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You can still have your say about cannabis restrictions in the
community until Wednesday afternoon but concerns have been raised
about people being able to submit more than one survey.
"Yes, there are no restrictions based on IP addresses as this is city
policy," said Jim Genge senior planner, planning and development services.
Restrictions would make it difficult to complete the survey, including
for the more than 500 who completed it at the Home and Garden Trade
Show, he said. It would also restrict more than one person in a
household from having a say.
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Plenty of hard work goes into training police service dogs to sniff
out illicit substances
For the vast majority of the dog population, sitting, shaking their
paw and possibly rolling over is more than enough to get a treat, or
some time with their favourite toy.
For police service dogs Astor and Flint, some of the highest praise
comes after sniffing out drugs hidden in a home or a vehicle.
The Medicine Hat Police Service is two weeks into training PSD Astor
to detect drugs and to notify his handler of any illegal substances he
may sniff out.
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Last week there were two rallies organized to address the opioid
crisis - one in the city and the other on the Blood Reserve. On Monday
night, I attended the Community in Crisis March that started at City
Hall and ended with a candlelight vigil at Galt Gardens. Several very
touching speeches were given by citizens who have been impacted by the
opioid crisis and are determined to fight back.
Our Mayor and local MLA Maria Fitzpatrick also provided remarks
echoing the sentiment that this crisis sees no boundaries - it does
not discriminate. They also reaffirmed we must continue with harm
reduction efforts and band together as communities.
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Jason Kenney stated recently that the best way to combat drug addition
in general, and the opioid crisis in particular, is by controlling
supply. This demonstrates that he is little more than a cynical,
career politician. He will say whatever he thinks will resonate with
his base in the hope of becoming the next premier.
Mr. Kenney has routinely prostrated himself at the alter of the free
market, and is one who regards state intervention in the economy as
devil's work. He knows that where there is a demand, entrepreneurs
will invest capital with the aim of meeting that demand. In light of
well-established and widely accepted market theory, Mr. Kenney should
know - as I suspect he does - that the best way to address crises such
as the one we are witnessing is to also address the demand side of the
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The sheer volume of human suffering has been increasing exponentially
in recent months as a new and deadly wave of opioids scythes through
local drug users and addicts, says Const. Ryan Darroch, a 15-year
veteran of the Lethbridge Police Service, and a beat cop with the
downtown policing unit.
"We have not yet confirmed carfentanil (behind the recent overdoses)
through our lab analysis," he emphasizes, "but we have seized
carfentanil in the city. A lot of the street people we talk to in the
downtown, and all over this city, refer to it as 'Car.' It almost
looks like that candy Nerds. They tell us they take that carfentanil
and mix it with a water solution in those little blue vials people may
see on the streets on the ground. They mix that solution in little
green mixing bowls, and it breaks down the opioid inside that and they
may then draw that solution into a needle and inject it into
themselves. Fentanyl or
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One of the most desired outcomes of opening the ARCHES Supervised
Consumption Site in Lethbridge is a reduction in the number of
incidents of public drug use and disposal of drugdebris in the
While it is too early to say whether or not that outcome has been
achieved, Terra Plato, CEO of the Lethbridge Public Library, stated
the early signs at the Main Branch were positive.
"Like the rest of this city, the library has experienced the same
impacts downtown in terms of drug debris and that sort of thing,"
Plato said. "The general sense, the feeling around the library, is
that, yes, we have seen a positive difference since the Supervised
Consumption Site has opened. But I cannot really comment on the number
of needles, and that sort of thing. We just don't have that data yet."
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With legal recreational marijuana in the wings, Lethbridge remains
divided on its use.
The latest survey of city residents shows an even 50-50 split when
asked if they support legalization. But support is up from 43.9 per
cent in 2016 and 46.6 per cent last year, as reported by the Citizen
Society Research Lab at Lethbridge College.
On several other oncecontroversial issues, however, there's less
disagreement. Lethbridge residents continue to agree largely with
same-gender marriage (77.3 per cent), doctorassisted death (79.5 per
cent) and a woman's right to abortion (81.7 per cent).
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Alberta's supervised consumption sites should be permitted to offer
drug testing to help users learn what dangers might be lurking in
their illicit narcotics, the province's opioid commission recommended
While questions persist about the effectiveness of fentanyl-sensing
strips and other testing devices, providing insight to users on what
they plan to inject or ingest will undoubtedly save lives, commission
"Anytime you can give people a bit more understanding than absolutely
none about what's in their drugs, I think that's a positive," Elaine
Hyshka, co-chair of the Minister's Opioid Emergency Response
Commission, told a news conference downtown.
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The war on drugs has never been won by anyone, anywhere. But Jason
Kenny figures that it can be won here in Alberta by stricter law
enforcement and by limiting safe injection sites.
He is against safe injection sites, because in his conservative way of
thinking, they promote the use of drugs. Nothing could be farther from
the truth. Safe injection sites help save lives.
On the street, drug addicts can be exposed to bad batches of drugs or
they can be thrown in jail for possession of illegal drugs. I'm quite
sure addicts are not happy they have to resort to safe injection sites
to get their fix.
And by going to safe injection sites, they are not demonized for being
addicts and they can go to these places so that they can get off their
dependence on drugs for good.
Dennis Wanechko, Leduc
Obviously reefer madness is still on when we hear about a "drug house"
being closed down and the bad guys had fentanyl labs, steroid labs and
shatter labs. Shatter is the street name for cannabis oil, which
should be legal as our delusional puppet promised it would be. This
fearmongering is ridiculous. It's a concentrate removing carbons and
impurities! Nothing more. I have used cannabis oils for my
fibromyalgia and broken back for 25 years without problems and
becoming a criminal (except for the fact I've had to go to criminals
to get it). Fentanyl gets prescribed to a person for a back injury and
three months later they have nothing, are on the street selling
themselves, in full addiction mode and robbing homes. Marijuana oil
made me a gold-medal mountain bike champion after I treated my back
injury with it and no other pain meds. The Prozac my doctor was
feeding me made me wake up! I still have all the unused pills.
(It's hardly reefer madness with legalization around the corner.)
United Conservative Party leader Jason Kenney said he would be opposed
to expanding Safe Consumption Sites across the province if elected
"Helping addicts inject poison into their bodies is not a solution to
the problem of addiction," he said bluntly while visiting Lethbridge
Disagreeing with local Lethbridge government, aid organizations and
law enforcement officers who have championed the site, Kenney went on
to state he did not feel safe consumption or injection sites work, as
evidenced by the spike in opioid overdose deaths in Vancouver despite
having a safe injection site in that city for over a decade.
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Police are "picking and choosing " when it comes to marijuana
enforcement, says a Whyte Avenue medical cannabis dispensary owner
charged after a bust last month.
The Edmonton Drug and Gang Enforcement Section (EDGE) executed search
warrants Feb. 2 at two commercial addresses and a residence, turning
up cannabis products with a combined street value estimated by police
Paul Olson, owner of Whyte Cross dispensary, one of the businesses
raided Feb. 2, said it was "a little bit of a surprise" when police
entered his store and seized his products.
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Alleged local international crime cartel had United States, Mexican
Calgary school buddies came together to form their own drug
trafficking gang, with links to murder, money laundering and vicious
Mexican cartels, say city police.
The group was allegedly responsible for millions of dollars in
international drug imports and exports, and has been tied to a brazen
Calgary shooting that left two dead in a south Calgary Superstore
Calgary police say the group now faces dozens of charges, from drug
importation to money-laundering to murder.
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Calgary police will reveal details Thursday about how they smashed a
city-based crime cartel involved in murder, massive importation of
drugs and money laundering.
Tentacles of the gang spread as far as Mexico, and Postmedia sources
say they had connections with notorious drug cartels there.
Postmedia has also learned the group has been tied to a brazen
daylight shooting May 21 that left two men dead in a southeast Calgary
Superstore parking lot.
Sources say the bust is so significant that members of the U.S. Drug
Enforcement Adminstration (DEA) will be on hand when police reveal
details at a news conference Thursday morning.
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Majority to respond to city's online questionnaire have been for
Two thirds of Medicine Hatters support pot legalization, according to
early results of an online survey that asks how the city should
regulate local marijuana sales, the municipal planning commission
heard on Wednesday.
The same survey, filled out by 4,000 respondents as of Feb. 20, is on
track to garner a larger response than similar surveys in Calgary and
Edmonton. And city officials says the high numbers aren't the result
of the pro-pot community "hijacking" the process to skew the results.
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