Councillors decide on strict laws for cannabis, tobacco smoking

News source from CTV News

In a close vote Tuesday, councillors voted to ban cannabis, once it becomes legal, and tobacco products from about 600 city parks.

The 7-6 vote went in favour of more conservative restrictions, which will make it illegal for Edmontonians to smoke in city spaces like Churchill Square, Fort Edmonton Park, Hawrelak Park and spaces for kids, like playgrounds.

City council debated two options: one with no public consumption with exceptions, and one that followed the provincial model with additional restriction. They chose the latter.

Where you can smoke or vape cannabis:

  • Walking trails, grassed utility lines, sports fields, spray parks, outdoor pools, skating rinks, skate parks, and other children events or amenities
  • At events or festivals with approved 18-and-over cannabis gardens separated from other festival goers
  • Sidewalks, boulevards, alleyways, or roadways 10 metres from entrances, open windows and bus stops.
  • On private property, except inside buildings or patio where the public has implied invitation to access (Subject to landowner rules)

Where you cannot smoke or vape cannabis:

  • Inside buildings, patios, public vehicles or substantially enclosed areas
  • Schools, child-care facilities, hospitals, campgrounds, city-owned golf courses & ski hills, off-leash areas and cemeteries
  • Within 30 metres of sports fields, playgrounds, zoos, bicycle or skate parks, outdoor pools or spray parks, outdoor theatres, skating rinks and other children amenities
  • Family-friendly City attractions, such as Fort Edmonton Park or Sir Winston Churchill Square
  • Within 10 metres or doorways, open windows and public transit stations

Ward 3 Councillor Jon Dziadyk put forward a motion for administration to:

1. “Establish dedicated cannabis smoking areas in William Hawrelak Park. This area should also allow tobacco smoke and be appropriately sited, away from places where children typically congregate.”

2. “Consider that designated cannabis smoking areas also be established at other city parks, golf courses, and other areas of public property, at the discretion of the City Manager and that Administration report back by memorandum to Council in the second quarter of 2019 with an update.”

Administration extended the decision to ban smoking from parks to tobacco. It also prohibits smoking from happening within 10 metres of doorways and windows.

“The best advice we’ve received is start restrictive and ease restrictions over time based on experience rather than start overly permissive and then people become accustomed to things and take things away,” mayor Don Iveson said.

With files from Nicole Weisberg

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