Lacombe County Community Standards bylaw amended ahead of cannabis legislation

Following Lacombe County’s Cannabis in Your Community public engagement campaign, County Council gave both second and third readings of the updated Community Standards Bylaw, and passed it during the October 11, 2018 council meeting. 

Since the Government of Alberta gave municipalities the authority to set out their own rules on the smoking and vaping of cannabis products, Lacombe County met with the public to get their input on the bylaw. This was done in July 2018, in conjunction with the Planning Department – who are putting the final pieces in place on the necessary changes required to update the County’s Land Use Bylaw.

“Our goal is to have a solid foundation in place that takes into the account the needs and concerns of the public,” said Reeve Paula Law. “The feedback we heard indicated that our public wants us to limit cannabis consumption in a similar way to that of alcohol and tobacco consumption.”

When cannabis legalization comes into effect on October 17, 2018, smoking or vaping cannabis products on any public places in Lacombe County will be prohibited. This includes community halls, sports fields, public open spaces (trails, nature reserves, parks, and green spaces), beaches, playgrounds, and anywhere else that the public are permitted to access.

Enforcement and Penalties

Under the authority of the Provincial Offences Procedures Act, police officers, peace officers, and any bylaw officers appointed under the Municipal Government Act are authorized to issue violation tickets to any person caught smoking or vaping cannabis in public spaces, and the product and device used to smoke or vape may be seized. The penalty for a first offence will be a fine of $300, with second and subsequent offences receiving a fine of at least $600.

After a public hearing on October 11, 2018, Council deferred a decision to make amendments to the Land Use Bylaw (LUB), which will accommodate the two new uses in the LUB as a result of cannabis legalization for cannabis production facilities and cannabis retail. This item will be brought back to a future County Council meeting.