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No designated pot smoking areas for Ottawa, says Mayor

Jim Watson says the city of Ottawa won't follow the action of other cities like Calgary, whose city council has approved designated smoking areas outdoors and cannabis gardens for festivals.
2018-01 Jim Watson MV
Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson speaks to the media at an announcement regarding the Lebreton Flats development, January 2018. (Photo/ Mike Vlasveld)

As cities are gearing up for the legalization of recreational marijuana on October 17, the mayor says there's one avenue the city of Ottawa won't be going down; designated pot smoking areas. 

"My understanding is the provincial law prohibits it in public, and we have a no smoking policy of any kind in our parks. So, that's not something we're going to look at," Watson said, follow Wednesday's city council meeting. 

Calgary's city council passed a motion this week, which will allow for designated pot smoking areas across the city, and also allow for 'cannabis gardens' at festivals - similar to beer gardens. But Watson said you shouldn't expect to see that in the nation's capital. 

Watson added at this point, there's concern over how much time the city has to prepare, given the work that still needs to be done. 

"Thanks goodness it's not July 1st," Watson said. "We would not be ready. We don't have the necessary tools from an enforcement point of view - saliva testing, training of our staff and police." 

As Doug Ford's Conservatives are set to be sworn in at Queens Park on Friday, Watson is hoping that in a few weeks time, more details will be made available pertaining to legalization.

"We just don't have all of the answers to some pretty basic questions," said Watson. "No one knows where that first store is going to be." 

The Mayor said regarding retail store locations, he's made it clear he doesn't want any in a radius that's close to a school. 

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