Friday, August 3, 2018

Cannabis discussed at Town Council

Toni Lucas - Council for the Town of Pincher Creek held a public hearing on the subject of retail cannabis prior to their regular meeting Monday on Monday evening, July 23. Oldman River Regional Services Commission Senior Planner Mike Burla was present and discussed the matter at some length. "We are just moving into a totally different attitude in society in respect of some of the stuff that used to be taboo." Burla said the framework for non-medical cannabis establishments is regulated at a federal level. Non-medical cannabis use in Alberta is regulated by the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission.

Currently it is anticipated the establishment of non-medical cannabis retail stores will begin to occur on October 17 of this year.

How municipalities and provinces regulate home-grown recreational marijuana production is an issue complicated by the fact that some people have already been accorded the right to grow at home for personal consumption. Burla said that working within the framework set at the federal and provincial levels, "We have to come up with our own set of rules of what would be acceptable to the municipality, and the folks that live in this community." 

"The courts have shown that we cannot regulate morality. We are here to regulate land use. And that is what we are going to attempt to do with this bylaw."

Burla said that Crowsnest Pass and Fort Macleod councils are discussing these matters as well.  

The bylaw outlined definitions and standard of developments including that of cannabis retail sales.

A cannabis facility application will be listed under 'discretionary uses' for Land Use in C1-Downtown / Retail Commercial, C2-Highway / Drive-in Commercial, C3 - Comprehensive / Shopping Mall Commercial, C4 - Transitional Commercial, and I3 - Business Park – I3.

The bylaw states a cannabis retail sale establishment will have the following separation distances: 100 metres from a provincial health care facility, public park, public recreation facility, liquor store, or cannabis retail sales and 200 metres from a school, or child care facility.

The bylaw also outlined a bakery, convenience store, eating establishment,  farmer’s market, farm supplies and services, garden centre, greenhouse, retail store, or a speciality manufacturing/cottage industry do not include cannabis retail sales.

No one in the gallery made any comment on the matter. Only one written comment was submitted, a letter from Carswell Planning  in support of the bylaw.

The bylaw passed second readin. Third and final reading is planned to take place October 17.

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