By Greg Price
The Government of Canada has introduced legislation to legalize cannabis by July 2018.
That is not to say Municipal District of Taber council does not have its share of concerns with the federal initiative.
“We had a visit from the mayor of Taber with some concerns on the Cannabis Act,” said Brian Brewin, reeve for the M.D. of Taber, adding those concerns are mutual as a resolution was discussed and passed at M.D. council’s Aug. 8 meeting.
One of the biggest M.D. concerns is permitting possession of up to five grams of dried cannabis by any person between the ages of 12 and 18 years of age.
“That certainly needs some clarification of why 12 year olds are allowed to have marijuana,” said Brewin. “We also need to know the responsibilities municipalities will have downloaded on them with this. This just seems like this is getting pushed through way too fast.”
“It’s like every kid should be allowed to carry a six-pack around, too (of beer),” said Dwight Tolton, councillor for the M.D. of Taber.
Pending further clarification, councillor Bob Wallace noted youth between 12 to 18 years old could each carry a small amount of cannabis, combining their grams to traffic on the street or in schools.
“We are asking that this be brought forward to AAMDC (Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties) more for clarification. I think this needs to be talked about. It should be an interesting conversation, but it’s a conversation that needs to be had,” said Brewin.
Concerns continued for councillors as Ben Elfring took issue with how policing was going to be implemented with cannabis being legalized.
“We are going to do this and there’s going to be more criminal activity I’m thinking. Will there be more police on the road checking for impaired drivers?” said Elfring.
“Do they have a legal method for checking for impairment for legal drugs?” added Brewin. “These are the types of questions we need answers for before they push this through,” said Brewin. “At least the association can say let’s slow this down and get some regulations in place so that we know what we are dealing with.”
Council passed a resolution that the AAMDC advocate the Government of Alberta oppose the legalization of cannabis for recreational use in Alberta until such a time as (there is) a complete understanding (of the implications) that legalization of cannabis will have on the health of individuals and on community safety.