Adult marijuana usage will become legal in Canada beginning on October 17, but that doesn’t mean questions of where and when cannabis can be consumed have been fully answered.
While possessing and smoking marijuana will be legal next month, edible marijuana products won’t be available for sale until October of 2019. The delay is intended to give Health Canada time to regulate cannabis consumables apart from dried marijuana intended for smoking.
According to a report from the Calgary Herald, Calgary Ward 3 Councillor Jyoti Gondek has stated cannabis lounges for public marijuana usage won’t be allowed to open up until edibles are fully regulated.
Gondek had sharp words regarding the delay in regulating brick-and-mortar locations, stating “I will go back to the root cause of this problem: when the federal government said it was going to legalize cannabis, they did not sit down with its counterparts in other orders of government to talk about the change and its impact on the province and its municipalities.”
“As a result, we are where we are. We are trying to explain how residents would like to partake in the legalization of cannabis and are unable to influence the policy change now,” she said.
Gondek went on to state, “If someone had actually bothered to take the time to talk to the people who roll out services in the places people live and will be consuming a legal product, we could have told them they need a place for people to go.”
This news follows another recent setback for public usage. Four sites were initially proposed in Calgary for public consumption of marijuana aimed at Bridgeland, Inglewood, and Ogden. Those plans were scrapped entirely last week after the city received overwhelmingly negative public feedback.
Currently, no public consumption sites have been agreed to in Calgary, and none are expected to be finalized by the October 17 legalization date.
The lack of public access options is just one of the challenges inherent to country-wide legalization, from potential problems crossing the border to the US to difficulty finding insurance companies that will underwrite cannabis businesses.
These challenges that vary by province highlight how cannabis has been treated as essentially legal in some areas without repercussion. Cannabis lounges have already been actively operating in Toronto and Vancouver for years without prosecution, for instance.