City withdraws proposal for designated cannabis consumption areas in Ward 9
From Aug. 27 to Sept. 7, The City of Calgary provided a public engagement opportunity for Calgarians to give feedback on four proposed designated cannabis consumption areas. If approved by Council these proposed areas, located in Inglewood, Bridgeland and Ogden, would have been exempted from the regulations in the Cannabis Consumption Bylaw, which prohibits the consumption of recreational cannabis in any form (smoking, vaping or edibles) in public places.
Today, The City of Calgary revealed that it will not continue to the approval phase for the four proposed cannabis consumption areas. The process for approving these areas allows the initiating Councillor to determine whether the matter goes to a Public Hearing of Council. As a result of significant feedback received by community residents, Ward 9 Councillor Carra has chosen not to proceed to Council as planned on Oct. 9, 2018.
“The intention in providing these public consumption areas was to ensure that everybody would have a safe, legal place to consume if they choose to,” said Councillor Carra. “Amidst the support and significant opposition to these proposed cannabis consumption areas, the argument that resonates with me is that only a couple of sites in a city this size does not meet the test of being broadly accessible and would lead to foreseeable challenges. Ogden, Bridgeland-Riverside, and Inglewood are at the forefront of the transformation Calgary is undertaking into a city of great neighbourhoods, and this is too much to ask of only them.”
While these four proposed areas will not proceed to the approval stage, Council still has the ability to begin the process to have a designated cannabis consumption area in their Ward. As part of the process, Administration identifies potential areas through strict criteria that include separation distances. Public engagement would take place for any proposed designated areas, and citizen feedback would help to inform Council’s decision on whether proposed locations are approved or rejected.
“The City started developing our regulations around cannabis in late 2016, and research and public engagement have played a major role in every regulation that we have set,” said Matt Zabloski, lead for The City’s cannabis legalization project. “We understand that Calgarians have diverse views on the public consumption of cannabis, and we work hard to balance citizen opinion with regulations that benefit communities overall. We want to thank everyone who took part in the engagement process. We take your feedback seriously.”
Approximately 1,700 Calgarians gave their feedback online while about 120 filled out forms at sounding boards placed in the proposed designated areas. Administration will compile a “What we Heard” report that will be available online in the coming weeks at engage.calgary.ca/cannabisAreas.
For more information on The City of Calgary’s approach to cannabis regulation, please visit calgary.ca/cannabis.