EDITORIAL – Keeping marijuana consumption off the streets a good idea

(Image: Creative

An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

I LIKE Calgary’s approach to the consumption of marijuana in public.

Our Alberta neighbor is looking at restricting cannabis use to private homes.

The provincial governments of both B.C. and Alberta have signaled they’ll allow cannabis to be smoked, vaped or ingested in public places such as parks and sidewalks.

How will you feel about walking down Victoria Street and having someone pass you toking away on a doobie?

The stuff reeks.

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Mel Rothenburger’s Armchair Mayor editorials appear Mondays through Thursdays on CFJC- TV. His Armchair Mayor column is published Saturdays on and CFJC Today. Contact him at

About Mel Rothenburger (6398 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

3 Comments on EDITORIAL – Keeping marijuana consumption off the streets a good idea

  1. R A George // April 9, 2018 at 9:25 AM // Reply

    I,m with you Mel.and with Calgary,although I still hate Alberta drivers.A looming problem with dope smokers if allowed to smoke in public would be the show offs.A cloud of pot smoke,the smell of which I can,t handle and the unspoken,” up yours”. An ex smoker I can,t even handle cigarette smoke. Neither do I attend “gay” parades.It,s all kind of silly.
    I,m with old man Trudeau and think we auta keep the smoke,both kinds in the house and sex in ” the bedrooms of the nation” as he phrased it.

  2. David Johnson // April 4, 2018 at 3:17 PM // Reply

    Mel, I wrote about this on your site 4 months ago, and what I wrote then, pretty much mirrors what you say here. Either ‘great minds think alike’, or I might have had a tiny hand in opening your eyes to the complexity of the issue. Well … ok … the temptation to pat self on the back is really not that strong. Heres the link for others, or in case you forgot.

    To the issue; yes, enforcement of a prohibition of public use is a big problem, and police will probably not expend much effort, but there is an angle of a rule like this that can be kept in mind. For many many decades now, pot smokers have generally extricated themselves from larger, more mainstream crowds to consume, upon fear of getting busted.

    I’m not speaking of the crowd shown in your video of a small group or a couple sitting in a park ingesting. They go there as they are life trained to avoid conflict. The density of non-tokers in a park area is low so they wont create much of a problem. Lets keep in mind that due to existing prohibition laws, those same ingestors tend to not light up on Victoria where the density of the non-tokers is higher. The norm of enforcement fear for many decades has been enough to make them turn the corner into an alley or into an open space where human density and negative reaction is considerably lower.

    A municipal rule of non public space consumption might just have the effect of keeping it mostly unlit on Victoria Street, as the training against sparking up where people are, is for the largest part so well ingrained into the toking society that it can be taken advantage of. Fact; When someone offers to spark one up and share, potential imbibers instinctively look up and around and assess the viability of where they are. This behaviour is ingrained, and can be maintained with a continued prohibition in public spaces.

    Perhaps one needs to be a long time partaker of the 4:20 to know just how much more scent will be released on Victoria, should there not be any guideline to moderate it’s use. In other words, those that today provide the occasional whiff in our congested public areas are but a tiny % of those that consume privately, but would publicly … if they could. The fog would descend.

    The funny part of all this? If it was a municipal law, it would fall on the Bylaw officers to ticket and enforce, would it not? That means that our parking and garden skateboard variety Nazi’s would have a new task they might not want.
    That would be the report to council, that may hold sway.

    • Mel Rothenburger // April 4, 2018 at 4:39 PM // Reply

      I think we’re basically on the same page, but one of the challenges facing City council when it ponders what to do about public consumption is whether it should be all or nothing, or should pertain only to smoking marijuana and not include eating and vaping. The Calgary bylaw contemplates including all forms in the public prohibition.

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