Calgary is one of the only cities left in Canada that does not allow smoking cannabis in public. Just next door, Edmonton allows smoking of cannabis, recreational or medicinal, anywhere cigarette smoking is permitted. So why is smoking cannabis treated so differently than smoking cigarettes? When it comes to smoking cannabis, far more negative attitudes are the loudest. While most smokers are aware of the adverse effects of second-hand smoke, cigarettes have designated areas designed to mitigate this concern. Still, there is a concern with cannabis smokers and how they aren’t being treated fairly in comparison.
Cannabis smokers are just as aware as tobacco smokers when it comes to respecting the rules. So what’s the hold-up in Calgary?
Current Bylaws and Why Calgary is so far Behind
Since legalization in 2018, questions arise why there’s still a delay in public use of it in this particular city. It’s a question that is going unanswered. Many of those who smoke cannabis assume it’s allowed in Calgary. And, people seem to be smoking it whether they think it’s legal or not.
Under the current City of Calgary bylaw, you can only smoke or vape on private property, and there is nowhere you can consume in public. Edmonton is in the same province as Calgary, but the bylaws are not the same. In neighbouring provinces such as British Colombia, bylaws state that you can have no more than 30 grams on you in public. For cannabis consumption in public, bylaws state no smoking or vaping in indoor public, provincial parks, near schools, in vehicles, on boats, near bus stops, and within six meters of any doorway, window or air intake. Basically, smoking cannabis is allowed wherever cigarettes are allowed.
What do the Non-Smokers think about smoking cannabis in public?
Downtown Calgary resident Kelly Evans, a non-smoker of both cigarettes and cannabis, says it doesn’t bother her if people want to smoke — regardless of the substance. According to Evans: live and let live. Despite bylaw restrictions, she still sees and smells people smoking cannabis everywhere. Evans says it’s not necessarily any worse than people smoking cigarettes. She says it’s still being smoked on the C-Train platforms as well, even though smoking cigarettes is also not permitted.
How you can help
The Calgary Cannabis Club is a not-for-profit society based in Calgary that offers tools and resources for medical and recreational users. They also think it’s unfair eligible voters in the city still can’t legally smoke cannabis in public. You can help the Calgary Cannabis Club organize for more sensible bylaw regulations on smoking by signing the petition.