Calgary begins process to decide cannabis consumption sites
The City of Calgary is looking at four possible sites where people could consume cannabis in public and a public engagement process is set to begin Monday.
“We are launching a two week period of public engagement to hear citizen feedback on four proposed designated cannabis consumption areas,” says Matt Zabloski the lead for The City’s cannabis legalization project.
The city is considering four locations in the Ogden, Inglewood and Bridgeland neighbourhoods with the exact spot announced Monday.
“In Inglewood there are two proposed areas. One is the greenspace at 11 Avenue Southeast between 11 and 12 streets and the second is the greenspace adjacent to the Wildlands Parking Lot at 9 Avenue Southeast past 22 Street,” says Zabloski. “In Bridgeland there is one proposed area in Murdoch Park on the southern end of 78 Street Northeast and there’s one location in Ogden which is the greenspace north of the shopping plaza at Glenmore Trail and Ogden Road Southeast. “
“I’m not personally against marijuana smoking but I do think about the implications for kids and also I think the city just has to be careful about making sure it’s cleaned up, there’s garbage removal. I don’t know if there would be limits on the timeline or the hours people could frequent the park,” says Bridgeland resident Marie Carlson.
"What we're seeing with legalization is a constant evolution so as far as what to expect I think we can rely on to a certain extent what we’ve seen in other jurisdictions that have legalized already but obviously Calgary is unique from all these other jurisdictions so we will continue to engage and evolve as things change in the city of Calgary,” says Zablonski
Calgary’s cannabis consumption bylaw would see marijuana treated much like alcohol meaning you couldn’t consume marijuana in public even after it becomes legal on October 17th but you would be able to use it on private property although some rental properties may forbid it.
However, these four areas would be exempt from all cannabis regulations because the city passed a bylaw in June that would allow designated consumption areas in public spaces at festivals or other special events after an approval process.
“These areas are intended to help alleviate a lack of access to a permissible space to consume,” says Zabloski.
So far, 261 cannabis store applications were submitted to the city and 83 have been approved.
These locations also need to be at least 150 metres away from schools, 100 metres from areas intensively used by children including playgrounds, sports fields, or places with family friendly attractions.
“The city can suspend locations if there are excessive safety or nuisance concerns,” says Zabloski.
They are not to be located in off-leash areas or sensitive natural areas and need to be 30 metres from any safety hazards and 30 metres from residences and confined to a radius of about five metres but that could vary depending on the topography of the site.
They also must be equipped with signs, garbage cans and tamper-proof ashtrays.
Those approved applications still need to go through a three week appeals process to receive the go ahead from the Alberta Liquor and Gaming Commission.
Some grocery stores may also be able to sell it.
Calgary Co-op is planning on opening 12 cannabis stores that would be stand-alone locations just like its liquor stores.
Calgarians are encouraged to send their feedback to Engage Calgary and those comments will be analyzed and presented at the October 9 Calgary City Council meeting where councillors are expected to approve or reject the proposed locations.