(Advocate file photo).

WATCH: Marijuana ‘edibles’ are among many cannabis issues the City of Red Deer looks to address

Situation is like “building an aircraft while we’re in flight,” says city councillor

Cannabis brought to work in the form of “edibles” is another thing the City of Red Deer — and private employers — will have to consider in the run-up to legalization.

“What about in cookies or gummy bears? One of the challenges is this whole issue of cannabis in edibles,” said Red Deer Coun. Ken Johnston, who predicted this will be “huge.”

“To me, that’s as big an issue as smoking, since it’s less conspicuous but can still lead to impairment of judgment and safety issues,” he added.

The City of Red Deer is working on a ream of marijuana regulations — including workplace standards for its own employees, as well as rules around public consumption.

City of Calgary administrators recommended this week a ban on all public use of marijuana, except at festivals, where it could be smoked in a separate area, like a beer garden.

Mayor Tara Veer said cannabis could be added to this city’s existing no-smoking-in-public-places bylaw, which was designed for tobacco products and is not as restrictive as what Calgary is considering. Or, depending on the results of a public survey on marijuana use (available at www.reddeer.ca), council could opt to draft a more “rigorous” bylaw that focuses solely on cannabis smoking in public.

Either way, Veer added that Red Deer will be keeping a close eye on what other municipalities are doing.

While city administrators are still working on a local licensing bylaw, a land-use bylaw that would regulate how and where cannabis is sold passed first reading by city council on March 5. It addresses public concerns about non-medicinal marijuana possibly being sold near schools, parks, recreation facilities and other places children frequent.

If approved in June, the bylaw would ban cannabis sales within a 300-metres of all these facilities. It would also ensure cannabis retailers are not locating next to a drinking establishment, microbrewery or liquor store, and that no ingestion of the product happens on retail premises.


Red Deer proposes marijuana rules

With marijuana legalization coming up fast, in July, the situation is “like building an aircraft while we are in flight,” said Johnston.

He expects to hear complaints this summer about marijuana smoke drifting into backyards from neighbouring yards. But if the smoking’s happening on private property, it will be difficult to address, he predicted.

Most concerns heard by Coun. Vesna Higham are about cannabis use in public, with people worried about children being exposed to second-hand smoke.

All kinds of issues must still be addressed by all levels of government, she added — including “inebriation on the job,” which will be of safety concern to companies that employ people using heavy equipment.


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