Article by Nicole Thompson and Alanna Rizza, City News
As all corners of the country prepare for a seismic shift in how and where people consume marijuana, several cities are considering whether it would make sense to legalize drinking alcohol in parks as well — a move an expert said would bring antiquated laws in line with the way people already behave.
“I think a lot of people who want to have a bottle of wine in a public park on a Sunday are probably going to be doing that anyway,” said Mitchell Kosny, interim director of Ryerson University’s School of Urban and Regional Planning.
The idea of legalizing alcohol in parks and on beaches has come up in Toronto and Vancouver, both of which are in the midst of municipal elections and both of which are in provinces that will allow people to toke in public come Oct. 17.
Kosny said he suspects the idea is floating around now because election candidates and front runners may want to appear “open-minded.”
Toronto Mayor John Tory floated the idea at an event Thursday, pointing out that it would seem counterintuitive to allow people to smoke pot in parks but not drink a beer — especially since people are already bringing wine and beer to their picnics.
“I know from being in the parks now that it’s quite a widespread practice of people having a glass of wine, and it doesn’t seem the world has come to an end as a result of that,” Tory told reporters following a graduation ceremony for police recruits.
But the issue isn’t up to him alone.