Medical cannabis production facilities in Clearwater County will only be allowed in industrial areas.
County council recently approved bylaw amendments in advance of the legalization of recreational marijuana this summer.
Keith McCrae, Director of Planning and Development, says he's fielded numerous calls from companies interested in setting up shop in the county.
"Most of the companies that have phoned us who are interested in putting a facility in the county are looking for land that is pre-zoned and pre-planned and all they have to do is come in and get a development permit," he says.
There are currently three main industrial areas in the county -- a mostly-full one south of Rocky Mountain House, a brand new one north of town, and another near Nordegg. Those with interest will still need to obtain council approval given that it is a discretionary use.
Prior to passing third reading, council heard from residents during a public hearing.
McCrae noted there were three main messages to come out of the hearing, one being that some opposed to the bylaw thought cannabis should be considered as an agricultural crop and therefore not require a permit.
"There was also clarification as to whether industrial hemp crops would be viewed as cannabis production and so they were reassured that this bylaw does not apply to industrial hemp," McCrae says.
"People were also wanting to make sure that this bylaw would not prevent them from growing personal marijuana as per federal regulations that apparently will be coming out in the summer. It was clarified that this does not deal with that at all."
If a company is granted a permit in the future, their facility must be 50m from a rec. facility, a residence, religious building, school, child care facility, community hall or public recreation area. It must be 300m away if situated on a standalone industrial parcel.
McCrae says County staff are working on bringing regulations to council regarding the retail sale of cannabis in the next couple months.
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