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Local concerns over marijuana legislation

Posted on December 1, 2017 by Westwind Weekly

By Garrett Simmons

Westwind Weekly News

Two southern Alberta mayors were left disappointed last week at the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association annual meeting in Calgary.

At the meeting, the Town of Taber brought forth a resolution in an effort to convince its fellow AUMA members to help lobby the federal government to repeal the Cannabis Act. The resolution also called on the provincial government to work with the AUMA on those lobbying efforts.

Ultimately, the resolution was defeated by a 76 per cent to 24 per cent vote.

“I think part of the reason that Taber’s resolution was defeated by the AUMA members was the strong signal from both the federal government and most provincial governments that the legalization of marijuana is moving forward,” said Trevor Lewington, the mayor of Stirling. “One of the speakers who commented in opposition noted that the AUMA’s advocacy efforts would be best utilized to ensure municipal government concerns would be addressed effectively going forward, rather than investing energy towards fighting something that appears to be a done deal, so to speak.”

Lewington added he does have some concerns regarding the act.

“I don’t disagree with some of the areas of concern that Taber provided in its background information around the burden of enforcement costs, and social impacts from the legislation change likely will fall primarily to municipalities to deal with,” he said. “From Stirling’s perspective, we continue to study the proposed regulatory regimes being proposed by the federal and provincial governments and identify what changes might be necessary in our community.”

At this point, Lewington added he is taking a bit of a wait-and-see approach to the situation.

“It’s a bit tough to comment at the moment until more clarity is provided by the other orders of government around all of the requirements and standards.”

Jim Depuw, the mayor of Raymond, was in a meeting with his fellow councilors and the Department of Justice and Solicitor General at the same time as Taber’s resolution went to vote. However, he added he would have thrown his support behind the resolution.

“I was disappointed to hear the results, as we supported Taber with their resolution,” he said.

Depuw added council did have an opportunity to learn more about the legalization process.

“Some of the Raymond council attended the AUMA Committee report on the Legalization of Cannabis in Alberta. It was offered to help municipalities understand the new legislative and regulatory requirements.”

The mayor went on the say his council awaits more details on the specifics contained in the act.

“The Raymond council will continue to study and learn as more information becomes available to us. We don’t know enough yet to make much more of a comment.”

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