Rimbey council holds open house before passing cannabis smoking bylaw

Rimbey town council talk to the public regarding cannabis

Interest in the rules and regulations regarding cannabis in Rimbey seems to be fairly high and about 25 people showed up at an open house Wednesday to ask questions and voice their concerns about the drug to council.

The open house was held in the council chambers and Mayor Rick Pankiw said he thought it went very well.

“I was happy with the turnout.”

Pankiw noted there was a wide age range of people who attended the open house. He said most people he talked to were not in favor of the town providing a designated spot for people to smoke marijuana, adding that the general feeling was that most people would partake of cannabis in their homes or their backyards.

The mayor added some people at the open house suggested that the best approach to dealing with the legalization of the drug was to “sit back and relax and let it play itself out.”

Coun. Gayle Rondeel said she was also happy with the turnout.

“Whether people are for or against it, they all had good ideas,” she said.

Jonah Kondras, who attended the open house, said he would like to see the word ‘smoking’ changed in the bylaw to ‘consume.’

Changing the language from smoking to consuming will put distance between the old stigma surrounding to the notion of smoking. Some particular uses of language may have a negative effect on how we conceptualize the habits and personal preferences of another person,” he said.

In my mind smoking is something drug abusers do. But when I say or hear consuming, I associate that act with an objective measure of ingestion. It feels more scientific when I think about cannabis in this way. If it’s backed with good science, it’s morally neutral and limits the chance of generating stigmatizing associations.”

In the proposed bylaw it states smoking means to inhale, exhale, burn or have control over a lighted cigarette, cigar, pipe, hookah pipe, vaporizer or other lighted smoking implement designed to burn or heat tobacco, cannabis or any other weed or substance for the purpose of inhaling or tasting of its smoke or emissions.

Questionnaires regarding the use of cannabis in Rimbey were provided at the public meeting as well as copies of the smoking bylaw. Copies of these questionnaires and the smoking bylaw are available at the front desk of the town of office. The public has until Nov. 23 to return the questionnaires to administration.

The results will be tabulated and the results brought forward at council’s Nov. 27 meeting.

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