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Calgary May Sanction Four Public Cannabis Consumption Areas

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Calgary May Sanction Four Public Cannabis Consumption Areas

While other cities are banning public cannabis consumption, Calgary may designate a few areas where it’s acceptable to toke openly.


By A.J. Herrington

August 28, 2018

Calgary May Sanction Four Public Cannabis Consumption Areas
Oleg Mikhaylov/ Shutterstock

The City of Calgary, Alberta may have four legal public consumption areas when Canada legalizes the recreational use and sale of cannabis later this year. All four sites under consideration by the city council are in Ward 9.


Gian-Carlo Carra, city council member of Ward 9, told the CBC that he proposed the consumption sites to make cannabis legal for all Canadians. Under Bill C-45, the country’s legalization measure, cannabis may not be consumed in public, or in apartment buildings,  condominiums, and hotels. The restrictions effectively keep recreational cannabis illegal for all except homeowners and their guests.


“I did so, I guess, because I believe fully that you need to have a legal way to use, enjoy, consume a legal substance,” Carra said.


Under Calgary cannabis regulations, a city ward may be considered for public consumption sites at the request of the ward’s council member. Carra was the only one to do so.

Carra added that he believed legalization measures should include provisions for cannabis consumption clubs and similar businesses.

“I’m a little bit concerned that the legalization of cannabis that’s being rolled out by the federal and provincial governments has not created the opportunity for lounges and places like that to exist,” Carra said.


City Seeks Public Comments

The city is currently accepting public comments on the proposed consumption sites. Comments may be submitted until September 7 online or in writing at the proposed locations.

Cannabis legalization activist Matt Zabloski said that he believes the proposal will be popular.


“We’re expecting a fairly big response,” said Zabloski. “Obviously cannabis is becoming more and more on people’s radar and we’re assuming there’s a lot of Calgarians that are going to be very interested in what happens from here.”


Council member Carra has not yet decided on the proposal but believes that residents of all wards and neighborhoods should be discussing the issue.


“We’re going to get to a point where we say this makes sense, or it doesn’t make sense,” said Carra. “And we’re going to have to wait for the provincial and federal governments to create environments were legal, private consumption sites are created so that those people who rent or those who own condos or those people who are staying in hotel rooms where they don’t have the right to legally consume cannabis within the four walls of their domicile, will have a place where they can if they choose to.”

The Proposed Sites

The four Ward 9 legal cannabis consumption sites were selected based on city requirements that included the locations’ distance from schools and the exclusion of areas frequented by children and natural or off-leash sites. The specific locations are:



  • Green space at 11th Avenue S.E., between 11th and 12th Streets.
Green space adjacent to Wildlands parking lot on Ninth Avenue S.E. past 22nd Street.  



  • Murdoch Park, on the southern end of 7A Street N.E.


  • Green space located north of shopping plaza at Glenmore Trail and Ogden Road S.E.

Council to Act in October

Calgary’s city council will accept the public feedback now being collected at its meeting scheduled for October 9, eight days before federal cannabis legalization takes effect. The public is also invited to comment in person on the proposed cannabis public consumption sites at the meeting.






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Calgary scraps proposal to allow people to use legal pot in designated areas


Brandon Bartelds smokes three joints at once while attending the 4-20 annual marijuana celebration, in Vancouver, B.C., on Friday April 20, 2018.



The Canadian Press
Last Updated Thursday, September 13, 2018 



CALGARY -- After some sober second thought the City of Calgary has ground out the idea of allowing people to use marijuana in four designated public areas once cannabis becomes legal next month.


A proposal called for setting aside four areas in Ward 9 that would be exempt from Calgary's cannabis consumption bylaw.


The bylaw prohibits the consumption of recreational cannabis in any form in public places.

But after hearing what it calls significant feedback from the community, the city says the idea of granting exemptions in Ward 9 has been scrapped.

Protest over the sites came swiftly, with critics placing signs at one of the proposed sites with slogans such as "Don't Doob It" and "Weed Rather Not."

Coun. Gian-Carlo Carra says the proposal aimed to give people a safe, legal place to use pot.


The city says while this proposal won't proceed, council still has the ability to begin the process to consider other designated cannabis consumption areas in the future.


"We understand that Calgarians have diverse views on the public consumption of cannabis, and we work hard to balance citizen opinion with regulations that benefit communities overall," Matt Zabloski, head of the city's cannabis legalization project said Wednesday in a release.


"We want to thank everyone who took part in the engagement process. We take your feedback seriously."


The city says about 1,800 people gave their feedback to the city on the designated public pot consumption site proposal.





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