New “No Smoking” signs are already going up in Lacombe.
Lacombe city council passed the Cannabis and Tobacco Consumption Bylaw this week banning tobacco smoking, vaping and cannabis consumption in all public places.
“The bylaw provides us with a solid foundation for the upcoming legalization of cannabis,” said Mayor Grant Creasey.
Unlike some communities, Lacombe opted to deal with cannabis and tobacco in the same bylaw. The approach is meant to keep the regulations simple and easy to enforce.
In the downtown core, tobacco smoking is banned within five metres of any door, window or air intake of a public building.
A 10-metre setback had been proposed, but council voted to reduce it to five metres.
During council debate on Monday, Coun. Don Gullekson had called such a large setback “draconian” and said it would hurt downtown businesses.
Outside the core, smoking is banned within 10 metres of any public areas.
Councillors questioned staff about what this would mean for those using sidewalks and trails.
“Any smokers on sidewalks will have to abide by the 10‐metre distance from doors, windows and air‐intake systems,” says a report to council from acting corporate services director Diane Piché.
“As most trails are in a park‐like areas where fitness and recreation occurs, no
use of cannabis or tobacco will allowed.”
An amendment was proposed by Coun. Thalia Hibbs to allow tobacco smoking on trails but it was defeated.
“I think we’re just turning into too much of a nanny state here and I don’t support that,” Hibbs said.
The bylaw also sets regulations for minors. Those 17 and under “are not permitted to smoke, vape or consume cannabis or tobacco products via any means,” says chief administrative officer Matthew Goudy.
Now that the bylaw is passed, city staff will be posting “No Smoking” signs in all public locations, including parks, playgrounds, trails and city-owned facilities.
An education period will be allowed to ensure residents are aware of the new regulations before they face fines. A first offence of smoking tobacco or consuming cannabis in a public place is $250. The fine doubles on second offence and third and subsequent offences will land a $1,000 fine.