Questions remain on impact of legal pot — Red Deer city councillor

Questions remain on what the consequences, intended or unintended, will be when the federal government legalizes marijuana.

The federal government announced late last week, new laws that legalize recreational marijuana for people aged 18 and older.

Included in the legalization legislation, are strict guidelines for its use which include punishments for underage and driving while impaired by pot.

Red Deer will have some tools at its disposal to impact the forthcoming change in marijuana laws. The city will be able to structure its land use bylaw around as well as fire and building codes.

However, concern remains about the costs municipalities will face with legalization. Buck Buchanan, Red Deer city councillor and board of directors member, pointed to the potential cost to police forces.

A former RCMP member, Buchanan invoked an example of under-aged tobacco smoking. The law enabled officers to give tickets to anyone under 18 smoking cigarettes. However, to enforce the $100 ticket police would have to send the cigarette to get tested in a lab and the offender’s parents would have to be subpoenaed to provide evidence of the accused’s name.

He wonders what kinds of policing costs could be offloaded on municipalities enforcing laws around underage marijuana consumption.

“It’s not so much the legalization as it is the hurry-up to get it in place,” said Buchanan. “It’s the unknowns.”

Among the unknowns Buchanan pointed to were enforcement around impaired driving. No specific testing method was endorsed by the federal government during the announcement of the legalization plans. A saliva test would be authorized under the proposed law. Testing of saliva devices by Canadian police forces began in April 2016.

“It’s the trickle down effect that happens after July 4, 2018,” said Buchanan. “We just don’t know. We’re trying to figure it out, as is the province as is everybody. What does it mean?”

A release from the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association calls for the federal government to take a measure pace to allow provincial and municipal governments to create an appropriate framework for their province.

“In particular, we need to ensure that the federal legislation and associated programs provide sufficient authority for municipalities to influence the sale and consumption of marijuana in their communities”, said Lisa Holmes, AUMA president.

Just Posted

WATCH: Christmas Wish Breakfast toy donations almost double

All toys donated Sunday will be given to the Red Deer Christmas Bureau and Red Deer Salvation Army

VIDEO: ‘Party bus’ goes up in flames in Vancouver

Fire crews responded to the late night blaze

Mothers Against Drunk Driving hold candlelight vigil

Four-and-a-half years ago Marilyn Rinas’ husband was killed in a collision with… Continue reading

Thousands expected at memorial for fallen police officer in Abbotsford, B.C.

ABBOTSFORD, B.C. — The streets of Abbotsford, B.C., will be lined with… Continue reading

One person dead, five others injured in early-morning crash in Kingston, Ont.

KINGSTON, Ont. — A man who was checking the damage on his… Continue reading

VIDEO: Replay Red Deer: Nov. 19

Watch news highlights from the week of Nov. 13

CP Holiday train to stop in Ponoka for another year

The popular train will feature entertainment from Colin James and Emma-Lee

Kittens rescued after allegedly being tossed from vehicle

Couple finds abandoned kittens new home through Facebook

VIDEO: ‘Party bus’ goes up in flames in Vancouver

Fire crews responded to the late night blaze

Chicken crosses B.C. road, stops traffic

Rooster makes early morning commuters wait in Maple Ridge

Red Deerian honours her brother who died in a motorcycle collision

Houaida Haddad is encouraging Red Deer residents to donate blood

Red Deer County firefighters to be recognized for Waterton help

RCMP brass will give formal recognition Monday

Ron James tries to lighten humanity’s load through humour

The comedian returns to Red Deer for shows Dec. 1 and 2

100+ Women Red Deer donate to Christmas Bureau

About $14,000 will help with Christmas hampers and toys

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month