Morinville to draft Cannabis Control Bylaw

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Above: Debate on a cannabis bylaw is at the 51.30 mark in the Town’s live strem of the council meeting.

by Colin Smith

Morinville may have a new cannabis control bylaw in place when consuming the substance becomes legal in Canada on October 17.

At its September 11 regular meeting Town Council passed a motion directing the administration to draft a bylaw that may include restrictions beyond those in federal and provincial cannabis legislation.

Not all councillors see the need for a bylaw, however, and the vote on the motion was split four-three.

In a presentation to Council, Enforcement Services manager William Norton explained that the Alberta government has introduced changes to control the sale and consumption of cannabis, in line with federal legalization policy.

Cannabis use is restricted to Albertans over 18, it cannot be consumed in a vehicle, and there are a variety of restrictions on where it can be consumed: it’s not allowed anywhere were tobacco is banned; at hospitals, schools or childcare facilities; and only at a prescribed distance from facilities where children are likely to be such as playgrounds, sports fields, outdoor pools and so on.

It’s left to municipalities to designate how far cannabis smokers must be from windows, air intakes, playgrounds and so on, as well as decide on whether further restrictions of cannabis use in public space are justified.

Norton said although the situation is not yet clear, it seems that without cannabis being covered by a bylaw community peace officers would have no jurisdiction to deal with it. All enforcement would be up to the RCMP.

“We’d be looking for some kind of direction,” he said. “If we are going to have a bylaw that would further restrict consumption or if we are going to defer to federal and provincial legislation.”

There would be an uproar in Morinville if public consumption of cannabis were permitted, said Councillor Laurence Giffin.

“I believe that the majority of the people in Morinville will be dismayed if people were walking down main street smoking pot – cannabis,” he said.

Giffin pointed to a survey done of St. Albert residents, presented to Council for information, in which 52 per of respondents favoured a ban on smoking and vaping of cannabis in all public places. St. Albert Council subsequently passed a bylaw forbidding all cannabis consumption in public.

“I think that our citizens are not that much different in believing that cannabis should be restricted to private property,” he said.

Taking the opposite view, Councillor Stephen Dafoe criticized the “kneejerk reaction” that has led to increased restrictions in other municipalities.

“This is not going, in my opinion, to turn into Reefer Madness or Fellini’s Satryicon,” he said.

Dafoe feels that provincial rules are good and that if bylaw coverage of cannabis is needed it can be done through the Community Standards Bylaw, with provision for designated cannabis consumption areas at public events and festivals.

“I don’t consume and I don’t intend to consume,” he added. “But the people I know that do consume, after a couple they are probably not going anywhere anyway.”

Mayor Barry Turner described informal discussions about the cannabis issue taking place among municipalities in the region.

“It’s looking like the majority of municipalities are looking at restriction to private property,” he said.

The motion to have the administration draft a proposed cannabis control bylaw was put forward by Councillor Sarah Hall.

Turner spoke in favour of the motion, stressing the importance of putting something in place that could be relaxed later, once the impact of legalization has become known.
“Being proactive is the right course of action,” he said.

Dafoe declared he would not support the motion.

“I’m very worried we’re going to be far too restrictive,” he said, noting that the Council had given the administration free rein in drafting the bylaw. He added, “When have we ever loosened a bylaw?”

When the vote on the motion was called, Mayor Turner, Councillors Nicole Boutestein, Giffen, and Hall were in favour, with Councillors Rebecca Balanko, Scott Richardson and Dafoe opposed.

Earlier in the meeting Chief Administrative Officer Stephane Labonne stated that the short timeline in which to draft and pass a cannabis bylaw before the October 17 meant there would likely be no opportunity for “exhaustive or meaningful” efforts to gauge public opinion on the issue.

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30 Comments

  1. I agree that smoking cannabis should be restricted to private residences and cannabis cafes. The consuming of cannabis should be allowed in the same areas where alcohol consumption is allowed. If someone smokes pot outside The Zoo they should be fined as it directly impacts other patrons and people walking by the bar. However munching a pot brownie or sipping a marijuana infused beer is discrete enough that no one would notice.

    • Smoking anything outside the zoo effects ppl. Doesn’t a cigarette? The smokers can move to the 5 m zone. I use medicinally and I’m not going to hide at home to smoke! Never have, never will. I AM respectful about doing so, close to ppl and never around kids!

    • Medicinal and recreational uses are different as well. Even health Canada is keeping the medicinal licensed producers and laws in effect for the next 5 years when it will be reviewed again

    • Definitely! No arguments there. But when it’s a prescription it is completely different uses. I have to carry all my documents and my product in the container it comes in with my name, prescription label and all on it. Without all that I am not legal to even have it on me. MUST have everything in order to carry and consume under health Canada regulations and law.

    • Eric Eisenmenger pills, edibles, and oils take about 2hrs to take effect with a duration of 6-8 hours. Smoking provides virtually immediate relief which lasts about two to three hours. While CBD does not provide a ‘high’ various blends of CBD with THC often provides the best relief. As a medical user, I use a variety of blends depending upon the time of day and need.

    • Eric Eisenmenger the body absorbs and metabolizes the compounds differently depending on how it’s consumed or ingested. So eating it affects a person differently than smoking and still different than vaping, also the way it’s prepared makes a difference as well, the way the compounds are extracted in order to make the pills or the edibles etc. So while it IS a personal choice in how it’s consumed that choice is often based on what helps the symptoms it’s meant to be treating best.

    • Eric Eisenmenger there are cases when immediate relief is a priority. If you are in pain, would you want to wait two hours for relief? I often use the smoke for immediate relief and the edible oil for duration.

    • Eric Eisenmenger the body works different then what you think. You can take a cap of it however it doesn’t really work the same way. Oil you should put under your tongue. I use oil and smoke. Smoke takes effect almost immediately. Oil’s/edibles take up to 2 hrs to kick in and don’t actually get to parts of the body your trying to effect. I also use a cbd cream to effect my leg muscles where I have a lot of chronic pain. I use it for many different things. Stomach upset, depression, chronic pain, and a few other reasons. For pain if I’m in enough of it I will smoke because edibles take too long.

    • Christopher Raine exactly. The pain will hit me so hard all of a sudden I can barely move. I’ve actually had to be taken into the hospital because of it when I was only using oils and not smoking.

  2. Going to be a hot topic! Lots of opinions. I can understand the side of frustrations to smoking in public with a few sparking up around families. That’s why oils and edibles are available. Most users know when to take oil to last several hours, there are many who don’t smoke who do use it. Smoke houses will come, give it time. It’s about tolerating and collaborating to not be a buzz kill on both sides. Work together as this is the first steps coming. Eventually no one will care and things will adjust.

    • Oils and edibles do not work the same way as smoking. They also take about 2 hrs to kick in and don’t really effect you the same way hence why I use oil And smoke. Cbd and thc are completely different then the other as well, and work differently for other symptoms. Smoking is immediate. Some ppl HAVE to smoke. Those who use it for pain, anxiety, panic attacks ect. I wouldn’t wait 2 hrs to have relief. I want it right away!

    • Oils and edibles do not work the same way as smoking. They also take about 2 hrs to kick in and don’t really effect you the same way hence why I use oil And smoke. Cbd and thc are completely different then the other as well, and work differently for other symptoms. Smoking is immediate. Some ppl HAVE to smoke. Those who use it for pain, anxiety, panic attacks ect. I wouldn’t wait 2 hrs to have relief. I want it right away! I use oils for duration but it doesn’t always effect the pain the way I need it. When the pain kicks me in the arse suddenly and I can barely move I am smoking no questions asked!

  3. I can sympathize with the need to medicate yourself. However if there is a discreet option available don’t you think that should be used, rather than effecting others with your medication? Again I don’t have any issue with a person medicating themselves, as they are currently. I just don’t want to have to endure it when I take my kids to get icecream in the summer, because a person wants to get high in public.

    • Doesn’t someone all messed on opioids effecting ppl with their behaviour? I used to be on 16mg 4 times a day of dilauded. Medicinal marijuana made it so I can be opioid free. There are very ignorant ppl but I can almost -at least- guarantee 90% of us who use it, use it in a respectful way! Do I smoke in a crowd? No. I step away. But I’m not going to walk 3 blocks from ppl when my chronic pain kicks in suddenly. I have never smoked around kids. That’s not right!

    • Kloie I agree with what you are saying. We do need bylaws in place however so people don’t abuse the system. I don’t doubt that you are respectful when you medicate, it’s the person that isn’t that I am worried about.

    • If someone is having a panic attack, oils or edibles won’t help them. They need the INSTANT effect you can only get from smoking it. Edibles and oils take twenty minutes or more to kick in.

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