MEDICINE HAT, AB — Council was unanimous in their decision Monday night.
Each agreed that a new bylaw, specific to cannabis, needs to be drafted and brought back to council, instead of making amendments to the Smoke Free Outdoor Public Places bylaw currently in place.
The proposed amendments would have allowed for some public consumption of cannabis once it becomes legal on October 17th.
Councillor Julie Friesen was the first to speak, telling councillors cannabis is not the same thing as tobacco or alcohol.
“The best option for the city of Medicine Hat is a bylaw, specific to the use of cannabis,” she said.
Councillor Jamie McIntosh said he initially agreed with making amendments to the current bylaw, but said residents changed his mind.
“My personal view point is that connecting it to tobacco would have been a solution to the problem,” he said, following the meeting. “I saw it as a workable for our community. The information and the feedback I got from the community definitely showed that I have a different viewpoint than the majority of people in Medicine Hat.”
During the discussion on the proposed amendments, McIntosh said he felt like the province had “dropped the ball, miserably” for not having given adequate direction to the numerous communities around Alberta.
“If you look at what municipalities across this province are dealing with right now, there is so many different bylaws being proposed and it is a bit of a mess,” he said.
That frustration was reiterated by Mayor Ted Clugston.
“It’s just so confusing and the province is probably going to come in with regulations anyway,” he said. “Why didn’t they just do it from the start?”
Friesen later presented a motion, to have staff create a cannabis bylaw, which councillors agreed on unanimously.
“We need to go back to the drawing board and work with staff to come up with something that hopefully will pass council next time, unlike what happened tonight,” said Clugston.
With no municipal bylaw in place, the city will follow the provincial regulations come October 17th.
“It’s going to give the community the opportunity, I think, to see perhaps it’s not as scary a thing as predicted,” McIntosh said.
For more information on the Act to Control and Regulate Cannabis, click here.
More to come.
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