Bonnyville has not put a ban on public consumption of cannabis edibles after Alberta Health Services encouraged the Town to strengthen their bylaws.
AHS released a letter to municipalities in January advising them of public health concerns relating to cannabis edibles, extracts and topicals in hopes of restricting public cannabis consumption entirely.
Bonnyville’s policing committee agreed with AHS and recommended to council to ban the use of these cannabis products in public places, but council did not approve.
Mayor Gene Sobolewski said on The Morning After that enforcement was a key issue.
“That is exactly the discussion council had. How do you enforce it? I mean, unless you walk around with bylaws officers with sniffers and things like that, it’s not going to happen,” he said.
“We looked at not just having a bylaw to ban because you just don’t want to pass bylaws for the sake of passing bylaws and making rules and regulations. You also need to be able to enforce it.”
AHS’ letter dove into the smoking of cannabis and the fears of normalizing consumption at festivals with cannabis gardens.
In November 2018, the Town elected to prohibit the public smoking of cannabis and treat it similarly to alcohol.
Bonnyville’s cannabis bylaws currently do not deal with edibles.
However, Sobolewski said that public intoxication rules still apply if someone was under the influence and AGLC regulates cannabis.
“It’s a legal product. It’s legal to consume,” he said.
“If they’re intoxicated, well, that’s a whole different set of rules and regulations. You’re not allowed to have public intoxication and things like that.”
He added that going down the road of public health could lead to additional questions about other substances.
“What’s next? Is it banning of alcohol? Is it the banning of because fatty foods aren’t healthy? Is it sugar and pop and stuff like that? Where does this end? And so AHS is free to ask municipalities to do things. But putting it on our shoulders for this kind of thing, I don’t think was quite fair. It was quite a discussion with council having all these ideas.”