October 18th, 2017

Cloud lifts over pot users


By Martin, Tijana on April 21, 2017.

Legalization

gets spirits high

at city rally

Tijana Martin

Lethbridge Herald

tmartin@lethbridgeherald.com

There was a cloud of smoke at Galt Gardens Thursday as hundreds gathered to smoke marijuana during the annual 4/20 celebration.

Every year on April 20, Canadians gather for pro-pot events, but it seems that cannabis activists may soon be getting what they want as the Government of Canada has proposed the Cannabis Act, which would legalize and regulate cannabis use.

Despite cannabis use still being illegal for most, unless prescribed for medical purposes, Lethbridge Police Services simply observed the rally and no arrests were made on drug charges.

However, users may not have to worry for much longer as the federal government has set a target date for legalization for no later than July 2018, if it’s approved by Parliament.

“It’s been illegal for 94 years,” said Mike Pyne, former federal Liberal Party candidate.

“All that has to be done to get to that point is tremendous. We’re dealing with three or four levels of government. it’s going to take a lot of co-ordination and time and hopefully we can have it done in a year.”

The 420 at the Park event ran from 2 to 8 p.m., and was a much larger event than in the past as the day was filled with live music, vendors, speakers and food trucks.

“Last year, we were on City Hall for I think, the fourth year in a row and we had outgrown the space there,” said organizer Fionna Doherty. “There were too many of us to be protesting out on the front lawn of City Hall any further.”

After speaking with the City of Lethbridge, it was suggested that the event take place at a larger venue and permits were approved for the event to be held at Galt Gardens.

“Rallies like this have been very, very, important. They’ve been a key in moving legalization forward,” said Doherty. “We just want to stress that cannabis crosses all boundaries. Cannabis use is something most people participate in and if you don’t use cannabis, someone you love does, someone you know does, or someone you’re related to does.”

Doherty is ecstatic that cannabis may soon be legal.

“I believe all forward motion is good. Any forward motion towards legalization is positive movement,” she said. “Anything that gets us closer to full access to cannabis is a positive step.”

The Cannabis Act aims to keep marijuana out of the hands of youth and will be illegal to sell or give anyone under the age of 18.

While Ottawa has proposed a minimum legal age for cannabis use as 18, provinces will have the opportunity to increase that.

The act allows adults to possess up to 30 grams of dried cannabis, or the equivalent in non-dried form and grow up to four cannabis plants per resident for personal use.

If a provincially-licensed retailer is not available, individuals could purchase online from a federally-licensed producer.

There are currently no medical marijuana dispensaries in Lethbridge and time will tell if any licensed retailer will open up in the community if legalization moves forward.

“The federal government has laid down their framework and now it’s up to the provinces and municipalities to flush it in,” said Doherty. “It’s up to us now as cannabis consumers to lobby the city and lobby our provincial government to get the laws in that we would like to see in place.”

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