By Jeremy Appel
Southern Alberta Newspapers
Redcliff town council is waiting to see what regulations the City of Medicine Hat puts in place for consuming cannabis before it passes the final reading of its Smoke Free Bylaw.
Council unanimously passed the bylaw’s second readings at its Sept. 25 meeting in a motion put forward by Coun. Eric Solberg.
Mayor Dwight Kilpatrick said the bylaw hasn’t changed since its first reading passed on Aug. 20.
Redcliff currently doesn’t have a smoking bylaw, having instead defaulted to the Alberta Tobacco Smoking and Reduction Act, but adopting one of its own will allow the town to replace further restrictions on marijuana consumption than the province imposed.
After the second reading, Kilpatrick suggested council hold off on passing the third until it knows what Medicine Hat city council is doing.
“It would be a good idea to find out what they’re doing and try to parallel it, so we don’t have different rules on different sides of Boundary Road,” he said.
The city’s cannabis bylaw was still in committee at the time of Redcliff’s council meeting.
Town planning specialist Jordan Zuwkowski said both bylaws aim to regulate cannabis consumption more like tobacco then alcohol, mandating a 10-metre buffer for smoking outside any building and forbidding any consumption in parks.
One key difference is that Medicine Hat could permit designated smoking areas for special events, whereas Redcliff would allow business owners to create permanent designated smoking areas outdoors.
“We seem to be bit further along in the process,” she said, adding that direct comparisons are difficult, since the city’s could change prior to its bylaw’s first reading on Oct. 1.
“At first glance, both appear to be trying to strike that balance between allowing people some place to do it, while still being restrictive, especially in public areas.”
James Johansen, director of planning and engineering, said the town doesn’t need to have its bylaw in place by legalization day on Oct. 17.
The town will be covered by the province’s regulations in the absence of its own.
“It’d be better to have it right than rush it,” said Johansen.