At Monday night’s regular meeting of council, Sylvan Lake Mayor and Council entertained different bylaws pertaining to cannabis.
The federal legalization of the currently controlled substance is expected to become legal sometime this August, which has been moved back fro the original July 1 date.
Following the heels of Calgary, the Cannabis Consumption Bylaw proposes a ban on the public consumption of the substance.
The cannabis consumption bylaw is written in such a way that it proposes a ban on all public consumption of cannabis.
However, Town Administration feels a complete ban on the substance is not the way to go.
“We believe a total ban on the consumption of cannabis in public places will incite a legal challenge that could cost the municipality many thousands of dollars to defend as there is no legal precedent set,” said acting Chief Administrative Officer Ron Lebsack.
Administrations feels it is best to have the Cannabis Consumption Bylaw to reflect the Smoke Free Bylaw.
Currently Calgary is the only municipality in the province that has imposed a complete ban on the substance.
The Smoke Free Bylaw saw the first reading with the amendments pertaining to cannabis as well Monday night.
The amended bylaw included an updated definition of smoking.
The definition of the smoking, according to the bylaw is: to inhale, exhale, burn or have control over a lighted cigarette, a lighted cigar, a lighted pipe, a hook pipe, an electronic cigarette or vape or other lighted smoking implement designed to burn or heat tobacco, cannabis or any other weed or substance for the purpose of inhaling or tasting of its smoke or emissions.
Under the Smoke Free Bylaw, smoking as defined in the bylaw will be banned at playgrounds, outdoor public events, skate parks, sport fields, water spray parks, outdoor skating rinks and municipal parks.
The amendment to the Smoke Free bylaw also includes an extended distance for smoking from an entrance or exit of a public building. The set back will be moved back to five metres from the current three, if the bylaw goes through.
“There is a lot of conversation around the table regarding the consumption of cannabis for both a a complete ban and one that looks more like the Smoke Free Bylaw,” said Joanne Gaudet.
Though the Consumption of Cannabis Bylaw requesting a complete ban on the substance was called back, Gaudet says that isn’t a for sure thing either.
“With this one there are a lot of differing opinions around the table. They are looking at options as to what would work best,” said Gaudet.
Gaudet says there are also legal implications to think about when it comes to cannabis bylaws, and it takes time to work out all the details.
Administration had originally proposed cannabis be beat with completely under the Smoke Free Bylaw, but Council felt differently.
At the May 2 Committee of the Whole meeting, Council requested a separate bylaw for cannabis.
“They wanted to deal with cannabis separately from tobacco, as they are two different things,” said Gaudet.
Coun. Jas Payne was the only one to vote against bringing the consumption bylaw back so that it will more closely reflect the restrictions imposed by the Smoke Free Bylaw.