Calgary Cannabis Consumption Sites Won’t Be Built Until Legalization

Calgary announces that there will be no cannabis consumption sites until legalization is finalized

After gathering feedback from the public, the city of Calgary in Canada announced on Wednesday that it will be moving forward with the designated consumption areas.

The four designated areas in Bridgeland, Ogden, and Inglewood, will be exempted from the city’s consumption bylaw, which restricts any public consumption of recreational marijuana.

The four areas are in Gian-Carlo Carra’s Ward 9.

Carra was the only member of the council that suggested locations in his ward that met the criteria. Other zones were proposed but didn’t conform to the guidelines stipulated by the government. He stated that once the bylaw is approved the zones where public consumption will be allowed, they will be established.

He explained that he initially thought that the city would have a network of green benches suggesting that public consumption would be permitted.

Approximately, 1700 Calgarians provided their opinions on the four approved sites, however, only a quarter of the people want to see the chosen sites established.

“This really is only going to work if there’s a diffuse network of these things and you don’t concentrate on them.”
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Calgary Cannabis Consumption Sites

According to Carra, the opposition against the Calgary cannabis consumption sites came in three categories: those who are against cannabis legalization, people who have issues with the chosen sites and those who are concerned about over-crowding the city.

Matt Zabloski, the city’s cannabis legalization project lead, explained that councilors are still suggesting areas that could be utilized as consumption sites in their wards.

However, it is a little late, as Canada’s legalization date is a month away.

“Given the timing obviously, there will not be a designated public consumption are available for Oct. 17.”

Carra explained that the new decision highlights the fact that the legalization of cannabis without the opportunity for cafes or lounges is deeply problematic.

“Not having a legal place to use a legal substance just sort of shoves this into a grey zone, which is not really what the legalization of cannabis, as I see it, was supposed to be about,” he said.”

Zabloski stated that the engagement of the public regarding something as important as a marijuana consumption is a necessity and the feedback should be taken into consideration before a decision on the location is made.

In addition, decisions are being made on the areas where recreational marijuana will be purchased in the city.

Based on the addresses provided by the City of Calgary, it appears that the purchasing of cannabis could be added to grocery shopping at major grocery stores around the city.

So far, eleven Calgary Co-op locations, including one gas station, received approvals to sell cannabis. This is similar to the strategy the province allows for alcohol distribution. A similar model of alcohol distribution is found within Quebec, who has chosen to go with government-distributed cannabis.

City administration is expected to have a  report available online in the upcoming weeks. Until then, where Calgarians will be permitted to use cannabis is up in the air.

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