Smokers beware of Red Deer’s enhanced Smoke Free Bylaw. That’s because Red Deerians can now be fined for whatever they are smoking; cannabis, hashish, crack cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, PCP/phencyclidine or herbal products as well as tobacco.
City council voted unanimously to support a motion from Councillor Tara Veer to include the smoking of illegal drugs and other herbal products in the City’s Smoke Free Bylaw, which previously only prohibited the smoking of tobacco in designated public places.
“I’m absolutely thrilled that council supported this,” said Veer.
The Notice of Motion came about because members of the community expressed concerns, Veer said.
“What the motion accomplishes is addressing an inequity. Before if you smoke tobacco in the City of Red Deer you were subject to fines, but if you smoke illegal substances, sometimes it occurs without consequences. Ultimately the message that it sends is that those individuals who feel free to smoke illegal drugs in public, particularly in the presence of impressionable children and youth, will be less free to do so in the future. While that doesn’t resolve all our problems related to drug trafficking and drug addiction, it’s a step in the right direction.”
She added that this move will enhance existing legislation and be a useful tool for RCMP, peace officers, and bylaw officers to enforce laws against local public drug smoking.
Veer thinks Red Deer is the first community in Alberta to adopt municipal fines for smoking illegal drugs in public places and she hopes the province will adopt it as well.