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Lacombe mulling smoking and cannabis regulations

First reading of a new smoking bylaw, which also covers cannabis consumption, passed on Monday

Another Central Alberta municipality is looking at tightly regulating public cannabis consumption.

City of Lacombe is considering prohibiting cannabis smoking, vaping or consumption in any public place, which includes parks, trails, playgrounds and similar locations. However, it also includes private property were the public routinely go, such as business or mall parking lots.

“We’re taking the approach where cannabis will be very similar to liquor,” said Diane Piché, Lacombe’s acting corporate services director.

“You can’t sit and drink a can of beer in a parking lot so you won’t be able to smoke cannabis in a parking lot either.”

A number of municipalities, including Sylvan Lake, are taking a consistent approach, in that cannabis consumption or smoking have more restrictions than cigarette smoking.

For instance, Lacombe’s proposed bylaw would allow smoking in mall parking lots or outside public premises, such as arenas or restaurants, as long as the person is 10 metres from the door. Cannabis smoking would not be allowed in those scenarios.

Lacombe’s cannabis regulations are being considered as part of the community’s first smoking bylaw, which was given first reading on Monday.

Recommendations on how to handle legalized cannabis came from a Cannabis Readiness Committee that was formed to review the issues and propose ways regulations could be included in land use and community standards bylaws.

Unlike Sylvan Lake, Lacombe is considering keeping smoking and cannabis consumption in the same bylaw. There was some discussion at council about separating them, said Piché.

“(Cannabis) might end up getting broken out,” she said. “There is definitely distinct differences in terms of the impairment of cannabis versus just the use of tobacco.”

The smoking bylaw is expected to come back to council at its Aug. 13 meeting. Staff were directed on Monday to get more input from the school system and police and to bring that back.

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