Survey shows Slave Lakers in favour of cannabis

‘Let’s get it rolling!’

Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

Cannabis wasn’t quite the only topic on Slave Lake town council’s May 8 agenda, but it might as well have been. With a dramatic flourish, town communications guy Christopher Brown handed out a sealed brown envelope to each councillor to begin his presentation on the town’s cannabis survey results. (Also one for the local press). Then he launched into a slide show that demonstrated strong support for retail sales of cannabis in Slave Lake.

That’s the gist of it. Over a range of questions covering sales and use, respondents were around 80 per cent in favour. A strong majority was also in favour of keeping sales and use of the stuff away from children.

The survey was conducted over 16 days starting April 17. The 559 completed questionnaires represented the second biggest response to a town survey in recent years. The snow-removal survey got more.

Response to the first question set the tone: ‘Do you feel that the retail sale and consumption of cannabis should be allowed within the town boundaries?’

Answer: Yes, by 82 per cent of respondents. ‘No,’ by 16 per cent. Nine per cent didn’t answer.

Eighty-four per cent of respondents favoured distance restrictions for stores selling cannabis from schools.

Asked how likely they would be to purchase cannabis from a retail store, 53 per cent said somewhat likely or very likely.

When it comes to consumption of cannabis, a whopping 91 per cent were okay with it being done in private back yards, whereas only 33 per cent would find it acceptable to do it while walking down the street. As for where it would not be acceptable, 76 per cent said in restaurants and bars. Slightly fewer (but still a strong majority) said parks.

How about at festivals and other special events? Sixty-nine per cent of respondents favoured a special area at those events for cannabis use (not unlike a beer garden).

As far as growing marijuana plants, 82 per cent said they were okay with it being grown in greenhouses. Seventy-one per cent approved in-home growing.

Some of the individual comments on this question were more interesting than helpful. They ranged (on growing cannabis) from ‘Anywhere we want on our own property,’ to ‘BC only.’

In the ‘other comments’ portion at the end of the survey was another wide variety of thoughts and attitudes.

On the ‘con’ side: ‘I think consumption should be restricted to inside people’s homes. This is a very offensive smell to many. I also think children shouldn’t be exposed to this.’ And – ‘Make the town drug free.’

On the ‘pro’ side: ‘I feel this will minimize crime.’ ‘Hurry up already.’ And, ‘Let’s get it rolling!’

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