Don’t expect a cannabis-friendly area to pop up by the beer gardens
There won’t be any pot-smoking sections near the stage at Country Thunder in Craven, Sask.
The festival has created two designated areas for smoking cigarettes and a licensed beer gardens for drinking alcohol, but there is nothing similar for cannabis users.
“The laws here are the same as if you’re walking down Albert Street or at a public park,” said Gerry Krochak, director of media relations for Country Thunder.
According to a spokesperson from Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority (SLGA), consuming cannabis in public places is prohibited.
Cannabis can, however, be consumed in a private place by someone of legal age. Saskatchewan’s Cannabis Control Act considers a campsite — which at Country Thunder includes the lot, tent, trailer or camper — a private place.
RCMP Staff Sgt. Devin Pugh said officers will be looking for people using alcohol or cannabis along walkways, in vehicles, or if they’re underage.
“On Craven site is a temporary dwelling so if you choose to consume alcohol or consume cannabis it’s in your campsite only,” Pugh said. “If you come out into a public area, it’s exactly the same as alcohol, you can be fined if you’re caught consuming.”
“We’re going to be enforcing a zero-tolerance policy on any of those offences related to drugs, alcohol or any other offences that come up that are going to harm or potentially create an issue for public safety.”
Pugh said officers may also choose to investigate whether festival-goers have purchased their cannabis from a licensed retailer.
Currently, there is no way in Saskatchewan for a organizers of a public event, like Country Thunder, to section off a cannabis-friendly area.
“Current rules in Saskatchewan do not allow for permits to be issued that would allow cannabis to be consumed in public areas,” said SLGA in a written statement.
SLGA said it is not considering changing that and that no festivals have inquired about the public consumption of cannabis.
As of Thursday morning, the RCMP had already made three arrests at Craven related to alcohol, but no charges had been laid.
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