Loading articles...

"Living document" lives: Council courts cannabis

Last Updated Feb 13, 2019 at 12:25 pm MST

The exterior of a Cannabis NB retail store is shown in Fredericton, N.B., on Tuesday October 16, 2018. Council approved of a motion to amend the land use bylaw to allow cannabis retail stores like this one 100 meters from "sensitive" land areas. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Stephen MacGillivray

With Alberta Liquor, Gaming, and Cannabis handing out more retail licences, council approved a motion for administration to create a proposed Land Use Bylaw amendment.

Councillor Mike Allen’s motion was to reduce the limit between cannabis retail stores and “sensitive use” areas such as schools, daycares, and hospitals.

The federal government handles the criminal aspect of cannabis, and distribution and health are the province’s domain.

However, Allen said this “very unique legislation” gives the municipality power in how and where cannabis retail stores sell their product.

“Because there were so many unknowns, what we did as a community was we decided that we were going to treat it like alcohol. As municipalities, we all have land use jurisdiction; that’s our only authority and jurisdiction here.”

Allen says every city in Canada has unique bylaws in place for cannabis.

Debate

Councillor Phil Meagher had issues with the motion, in particular with the 100-meter separation distance from the “sensitive use” property line.

Meagher addressed a loophole in Allen’s previous motion to council, and why it failed after the first reading.

“The last [motion] it was discovered that in one of the schools, and that was with the 150 [meters] from door-to-door, that one of the wings of the schools you could actually set up shop down there and actually be compliant with the bylaw.”

Meagher was the only one to oppose the motion saying it requires more clarification.

Nevertheless, Allen stands by the motion and believes there will be opportunities to make changes.

“For many, there is fear of the unknown, but as it is brand new legislation I call it a living document because these things are always subject to change and tweaking, so that we can make them better.”

Additional Notes

Council deferred discussion on Shell Place to Mar. 26, 2019 pending public engagement.

They addressed the lack of funding for homelessness projects in Wood Buffalo.