Cannabis/tobacco survey exposes some Red Deer election candidates’ views

Any kind of smoking in public is still unpopular

Most Red Deer council candidates who responded to a provincial survey feel that both cannabis and tobacco smoking should be banned from public spaces.

The survey, conducted by the Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) advocacy group, was sent to election candidates in 20 Alberta municipalities. Twelve Red Deer council candidates were among the 159 Albertans who responded to the survey.

Of the Red Deer respondents, all except one council candidate (Cory Kingsfield) support municipal restrictions on the use of cannabis in public places.

Kingsfield favours setting up special lounges where cannabis can be smoked. Others who support having special lounges approved for cannabis smoking are Kris Maciborsky, Jim Kristinson, Sam Bergeron, and Matt Chapin.

The Red Deer respondents who oppose or are unsure about having special lounges for cannabis smoking are Jordy Smith, Bobbi McCoy, Vesna Higham, Jason Habuza, Michael Dawe, Dianne Wyntjes and Rick More.

All 12 local respondents support having municipal licensing of cannabis sales and municipal control of where cannabis stores are located in the city.

Kristinson, More, Wyntjes, Habuza, Higham and Kingsfield feel that municipal restrictions on cannabis use should exceed those on tobacco use — even though tobacco kills about 37 times more Canadians than cannabis.

Those who oppose this are Smith, Dawe, and Maciborsky. Unsure are McCoy, Bergeron and Chapin.

Six of the candidates (Maciborsky, Dawe, Bergeron, Chapin, Habuza, Wyntjes) support more municipal restrictions on tobacco use, municipal licensing of retail tobacco sales, and municipal zoning of tobacco retailers.

The others were either unsure of and/or opposed to at least one of the above choices.

“We are relieved to discover that only 25 per cent of (overall Albertan) respondents feel that tobacco regulation should take a backseat to cannabis regulation,” said Les Hagen, executive director of Action on Smoking and Health. Western Canada’s leading tobacco control organization.

He was also pleased that most candidates surveyed felt cannabis smoking should be banned in public areas. ASH is concerned that allowing cannabis smoking in communal spaces would set back restrictions on tobacco smoking.

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