Council met for a special meeting on Monday, July 9 to prepare for the upcoming legalization of cannabis on October 17.
Administration has held 13 engagement session and received over 2,700 survey responses and and over 1,000 direct interactions with residents and determined that most residents concerns centred around protecting youth.
“I’m really proud of the engagement that happened during this process.” said Mayor Don Scott. “We did what I would call a super level of engagement and the residents really spoke and the rules that have been developed really reflect what we have heard and that is how it should be so I’m glad with that.”
With that in mind, council approved changes to the land use bylaw, smoke free bylaw and license bylaw to accommodate the legalization of recreation cannabis in the RMWB.
“I think we’ve set reasonable rules. People can consume in their private residence…people should be able to do what they want there, as long as it’s legal and the federal government has spoken and made this legal,” said Mayor Scott. “We’ve done our part and talked about the economic opportunities and made sure we were protecting young people as much as possible.”
When cannabis is officially legal in October adults of age 18 can legally purchase, consume and possess up to 30 grams of cannabis on them and grow up to four cannabis plants per household.
The plants can be grown in the house or an accessory structure or backyard. In apartments and condominiums, four plants can be grown within a private unit however not on balconies or exclusive use areas. Consuming Cannabis in any form (including smoking and vaping) in public places will not be allowed.
Complaints related to odour (smell from fresh and dried cannabis, cannabis plants and products containing cannabis) must be dealt with within 48 hours.
It is also important to note that legalization does not include edible cannabis or cannabis cafés at this time because they are not yet regulated by Health Canada.
The Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission (AGLC) will regulate all production and distribution facilities as well as online sales. All production and distribution facilities and be located a minimum of 300 meters from residential areas, schools, health care facilities and rehabilitation centres. There will be no consumption allowed inside of facilities or stores and no outdoor storage allowed.
All retail stores must be located a minimum of 150 meters from schools, day care centres, hospitals, rehabilitation centres in the Urban Service Area and 100 meters from schools and playgrounds in the hamlets. They cannot be adjacent to residential areas but may be on the main floor of mixed-use buildings. The Planning and Development department receives two to three inquiries per day about Cannabis retail stores and AGLC has received about 12 applications for Cannabis retail stores in Fort McMurray with Fort McMurray First Nation #468 already announcing plans for a production facility.