Innisfail and Sylvan Lake establish retail cannabis rules

By Josh Hall (Twitter: @Vancan19)
July 24, 2018 - 3:55pm

As October 17 creeps closer, more central Alberta communities are honing in on finalizing legislation related to the legalization of cannabis.

This week, Innisfail town council took two huge steps forward by banning the smoking or vaping of cannabis in public places, and agreeing on setbacks for retail cannabis stores -- sticking to the minimum of 100 metres as stipulated by the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission.

The setbacks apply to schools, hospitals, public cultural/recreational areas, libraries, parks and playgrounds, as well as other cannabis stores.

“We’re pleased to be moving forward with these bylaws in light of the constantly evolving nature of the legalization process,” says Mayor Jim Romane. “Citizens and stakeholders are to be thanked for participating in our own municipal process to accommodate the legislation, and we very much heard what they had to say. The bylaws reflect — and are the result of — much time, research, and discussion that’s gone into the matter.”

A community survey revealed 69 per cent of respondents would’ve liked to see a setback more than 100 metres as it relates to schools.

Forty-four per cent said there didn’t need to be any setback from the hospital, and 67 per cent desired a greater than 100 metre setback from parks and playgrounds.

Almost 50 per cent said there shouldn’t be any setback from other cannabis stores.

Retail cannabis stores will be allowed to operate from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and the Town of Innisfail will begin accepting development permits August 15.

Meanwhile in Sylvan Lake, permits can start being submitted August 13 after town council there gave final approval to retail cannabis regulations this week.

In Sylvan, where they're also in the process if finalizing a ban on public consumption, a cannabis shop will need to be 150 metres from others like it, as well as from schools, healthcare facilities, parks and playgrounds.

Neither Innisfail nor Sylvan Lake declared setbacks specific to liquor stores or daycares.

Town of Sylvan Lake communications officer Joanne Gaudet says because retail cannabis locations are considered a discretionary use, cases where a daycare is in close proximity will be handled on a case by case basis and nearby landowners will be notified.

Earlier this year, Red Deer city council approved setbacks of 300 metres from most of these uses, as well as saying they can’t be adjacent to a liquor store.

In Lacombe, Penhold and Olds, there are 100 metre setbacks from schools and the hospital.

Calgary and Edmonton have a mix of setbacks, but for the most part stuck closer to the minimum 100 metres set out by the AGLC.

Council briefs: July 23

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