Our Community & Cannabis
As of October 17, 2018, the legalization of cannabis is planned to be in effect nationwide. With the legalization, it is important to know that consumption bylaws for municipalities will be individual to each—so be sure to check for information. In Innisfail, with the contribution of public participation and feedback and government guidelines, we believe that our bylaws and policies are what's best for our community.
Here’s what you need to know about cannabis use in Innisfail:
→ Smoking or vaping cannabis is not allowed in any public place. It is permitted on private property only, and only with consent/permission from the owner of that property
→ A person must be 18+ to purchase or possess cannabis
→ 30 grams is the most a person can buy or carry at a time
→ Driving while high is illegal
→ Cannabis can't be within reach of anyone in a vehicle
We encourage you to continue down the page for more information about Innisfail bylaws and changes, public consultation results and links to educational resources.
Town of Innisfail Community Peace Officers will have the authority to issue violation tickets for a fine of $100 to those who fail to adhere to the Community Standards Bylaw 1498 for cannabis consumption. Individuals in possession of medical cannabis licences will not be subject to the bylaw, but must produce a copy of their documentation upon request by an officer. These individuals must adhere to provincial consumption regulations.
Where We Were & Where We're Going
Each level of government has its own roles in the legalization process. While federal and provincial regulations are in place, the Town through its own processes has determined how, where, when and by whom cannabis will be possessed, sold and consumed within the Town of Innisfail—stakeholders, through public participation, played a vital role in determining the necessary changes.
A Look at What's Changed
Using the results of the survey, along with extensive research carried out on the matter, proposed bylaw amendments were drafted by administration and subsequently given first reading by council on Monday, June 25, 2018. The amendments -- outlining where cannabis may be sold and consumed within Innisfail -- returned to council for third reading on Monday, July 23 and approved.
A survey inviting input/feedback on the legalization of non-medical (recreational) cannabis and the Town’s role in its implementation was conducted between April 20 and May 15, 2018. A total of 404 responses were collected during the survey period.
Click on the image below to view the Public Participation Report.
The federal government in April 2017 tabled Bill C-45: The Cannabis Act, proposing a "strict legal framework for controlling the production, distribution, sale and possession of cannabis across Canada." The following associated goals were identified:
- Restrict youth access to cannabis
- Protect young people from promotion or enticements to use cannabis
- Deter and reduce criminal activity by imposing serious criminal penalties for those breaking the law, especially those who import, export or provide cannabis to youth
- Protect public health through strict product safety and quality requirements
- Reduce the burden on the criminal justice system
- Provide for the legal production of cannabis to reduce illegal activities
- Allow adults to possess and access regulated, quality controlled legal cannabis
- Enhance public awareness of the health risks associated with cannabis
It was indicated that the current program for accessing cannabis for medical purposes would continue under the new Act, and that cannabis would remain illegal until the proposed Cannabis Act was brought into force.
The Alberta government subsequently developed the Alberta Cannabis Framework, indicating how the province intended to achieve the following policy objectives:
- Keeping cannabis out of the hands of children and youth
- Protecting safety on roads, in workplaces and in public spaces
- Protecting public health
- Limiting the illegal market for cannabis.
On Nov. 30, 2017, Bill 26: An Act to Control and Regulate Cannabis was passed, to "empower elements of the framework through legislation, which are largely in the form of amendments to the Gaming and Liquor Act."
What is the Town's role in the legalization of cannabis?
The federal government outlines municipalities as being "key partners in supporting the implementation of the proposed legislation":
"It is anticipated that municipalities will work closely with their respective provincial or territorial governments to support the oversight and regulation of cannabis distribution and sales once the Cannabis Act comes into force. It is also anticipated that municipalities will play an important role in enforcing local zoning and density bylaws, building standards, and matters related to the minimum age of purchase, personal cultivation, personal possession limits, smoking restrictions, and public nuisance complaints. These will be enforces through municipal bylaw, health and safety inspectors and police."
Municipalities will have the ability to adjust certain rules to be either more or less restrictive than those imposed by federal and provincial levels of government.
Through the process, the Town will consider bylaw amendments as they relate to:
- Sale (retail) locations and potential setbacks (from schools, other retailers, etc.)
- Consumption areas/locations
- Business operating hours
- Personal cultivation
- Other aspects of legalization that fall under municipal jurisdiction
What are federal and provincial governments' roles in the legalization of cannabis?
The Alberta government provides the following summary of federal, provincial and municipal roles in the legalization of cannabis:
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