Music Festivals Across Canada Look to Find Space for Legalized Cannabis

Article by Mike Hager, The Globe and Mail

Music festivals across Canada look to find space for legalized marijuana MIKE HAGER VANCOUVER By next summer, after cannabis is legalized in three months, the area at the Ottawa Bluesfest for medical-marijuana patients and cigarette smokers will be opened up to anyone who wants to use the drug. BLAIR GABLE/THE GLOBE AND MAIL PART OF CANNABIS AND CONSUMERS

Hidden behind a thicket of porta-potties directly east of the main stage, Ottawa Bluesfest’s first cannabis-consumption zone drew only a few tobacco smokers over the course of several hours on opening night last Thursday.
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But by next summer, after cannabis is legalized in three months, the area for medical-marijuana patients and cigarette smokers will be opened up to anyone who wants to use the drug. Organizer Mark Monahan says the so-called “pot garden” is the first of its kind at any music festival in the country.
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It won’t be the last as event organizers search for ways to balance the public’s desire to use the drug with the enjoyment of those who don’t want to partake.
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All-ages events such as Ottawa Bluesfest are looking to limit secondhand smoke of any kind and ensure young patrons don’t get exposed to widespread use of a drug that has been smoked at festivals since the days of Woodstock.
“Honestly, we have had issues over the last few years just around tobacco and cannabis use on-site in areas that we would consider smoke-free,” Mr. Monahan said, noting that about a third of the 300,000 patrons last year were teens or people in their early 20s.
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Cindy McLeod, founder of Calgary’s Bluesfest, said cannabis has never been an issue at her long-running festival, which plays host to about 5,000 people a day at the city’s Shaw Millenium Park. Each July, the marijuana smokers seem to separate themselves from the wider crowd and retreat to an unassuming corner of the site wedged between the nearby light-rail transit line and the site’s porta-potties.
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“To be honest, I drive by in my golf cart and wave at them,” Ms. McLeod said. “To me, it’s such a benign thing, I think alcohol is way more dangerous than pot will ever be.”

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