The Government of Canada introduced Bill C-45 to legalize recreational cannabis effective Oct. 17, 2018. This bill provides a plan for regulating cannabis and sets standards for: health and safety; what actions are illegal or criminal; and what aspects of cannabis regulation are the responsibility of the provinces.
On Sept. 24, 2018, Spruce Grove City Council approved the Consumption of Cannabis in Public Places Bylaw . This bylaw aligns with the best practices of other North American jurisdictions that have legalized to date and is also reflective of the concerns citizens expressed during the City’s research and engagement efforts.
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Under both provincial and municipal laws, you will be allowed to smoke, vape or otherwise consume cannabis on your private property only. Using cannabis in public spaces is not permitted.
If you are permitted to possess and consume cannabis pursuant to a medical document issued pursuant to the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations, SOR/2016-230, you are not subject to the City’s Consumption of Cannabis in Public Places Bylaw. However, you must be able to, on demand of an officer, produce a copy of your medical documentation and you must also abide by the City’s Smoking Bylaw and Open Space Area Bylaw .
Rental properties may forbid cannabis consumption. Landlord/tenant agreements or condominium bylaws will be able to restrict cannabis consumption under provincial regulations. Renters are encouraged to speak to their landlord about consumption rules on their property. Condominium owners should familiarize themselves with their bylaws.
The provincial government has set the minimum age for purchase and consumption at 18. This is in line with Alberta’s minimum age for purchasing and consuming alcohol and tobacco, as well as the federal government’s minimum age for consuming legal cannabis.
Adults are allowed to possess up to 30 grams of cannabis in a public place.
While the federal government has indicated that cannabis edible products will eventually be available, sales will be phased in at a later date. The federal government expects to authorize the sale of edibles no later than 12 months following the federal Cannabis Act coming into force.
The federal government is responsible for home cultivation. Under the federal legislation, adults will be able to grow up to four plants per residence from seeds purchased from licenced cannabis retailers. Renters, condo-dwellers and those who live in multi-family dwellings may be restricted from growing cannabis in their homes based on rules established in rental agreements or condominium bylaws.
Both provincial and municipal legislation allows people to smoke, vape or otherwise consume cannabis on their private property. The City of Spruce Grove will not regulate use on private property. The City will view cannabis smoke in the same way as cigarette or fire pit smoke; while it may be a nuisance, it is legal. Unless smoke is over and above what one could expect from day-to-day activities, it is considered part of urban living.
Smoking lounges, cafes or specialized bars for cannabis will not be permitted. Legislation gives the authority to regulate these forms of establishments should federal and provincial governments decide to allow them at a later date.
Driving while impaired by cannabis has the same consequences as driving while impaired by alcohol. The provincial government has made amendments to the Traffic Safety Act to address all forms of impairment and will be increasing public awareness about the risks of driving while impaired by cannabis.
It’s important to recognize that all municipalities and provinces have different rules; what may be legal in one area may not be in another. It is your responsibility to ensure you know what is legal wherever you are. Currently both Parkland County and the Town of Stony Plain have passed similar consumption bylaws limiting cannabis consumption to private property only. Many other municipalities in Alberta have taken this same approach.