The smoking of recreational cannabis in public places withing the limits of Sylvan Lake will be banned when the federal government legalizes the substance on Oct. 17. Photo Courtesy of Thought Catalog/Unsplash

Town of Sylvan Lake bans public pot consumption

The bylaw, which passed Sept. 24, will go ino effect Oct. 17

At the recent meeting of Council, the Cannabis Consumption Bylaw was passed and will go into effect on Oct. 17.

Town Council has met on eight separate occasions to discuss cannabis consumption in Sylvan Lake as well as the impending legalization of the substance.

Under the Cannabis Consumption Bylaw, the consumption of recreational marijuana in any form will be restricted to private property only. Further, the bylaw states the consumption of cannabis through inhaling, as that is the only form to be legalized, can be done on private property only with the owner’s permission.

Medical marijuana users are otherwise exempt from the bylaw, though are asked to refer to the newly amended Smoke Free Bylaw for public use.

At the Monday night meeting, a resident spoke during the open microphone section of the meeting asking Council to consider adding medical marijuana to the Cannabis Consumption Bylaw as well as prohibiting it from use in hotel properties.

The resident said by allowing those to be exempt from the bylaw the work of Council is being undermined.

“In regards to the concern raised [Monday night] we feel we have acted within our legal rights and this to be the right move for Sylvan Lake,” said Mayor Sean McIntyre during the meeting.

McIntyre expects to see changes made to the legalization of cannabis as time moves forward at all levels of government.

“This isn’t a place holder, but I believe as time goes on we will see the laws and legislation surrounding cannabis change and evolve,” he said.

Since the last reading of the bylaw on July 9, nothing has changed with how the bylaw is written.

Here are a few highlight of the bylaw you need to know:

• Until legalized by the federal government (Oct. 17), non-medical cannabis consumption is illegal;

• The minimum age for purchase and possession of cannabis, is 18 years – anyone under 18 caught with possession under five grams will face sanctions similar to possession of alcohol or tobacco; whereas youth found with over 5 grams are subject to federal criminal charges;

• The consumption of non-medical cannabis of any form (smoke, pipe, etc.), within the Town of Sylvan lake is not permitted in any public place;

• A “public place,” is considered “any property, whether publicly or privately owned, to which members of the public have access as of right, or by expressed, or implied invitation, whether on payment of fee or not”;

◦ For example, a shopping centre parking lot is considered a “public place,” and therefore, non-medical cannabis consumption is not permitted;

• Cannabis consumption of any form (smoke, pipe, etc.), for recreational use will be permitted on private property only, and only with consent/permission from the owner of that property;

• Medical cannabis users are asked to refer to our new Smoke Free Bylaw rules, and will need to present medical documentation;

• Residents with questions about impending cannabis legalization in Canada, should visit www.canada.ca/cannabis; residents with questions about impending cannabis legalization as it pertains to the Province of Alberta, should visit www.alberta.ca/cannabis

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