Town of Blackfalds has put a moratorium on cannabis-related development permits until new regulations are in place.
Council approved the temporary moratorium earlier this week on permits and uses related to the production, wholesale, distribution, retail and consumption of cannabis products until the town has updated its Land Use Bylaw.
The moratorium is meant to freeze those kinds of applications until the federal government’s cannabis legalization has passed and its implications for communities are more clear.
As it stands, no retail stores can get a development permit until federal regulations are passed “however the Town of Blackfalds could be subjected to an application under the current definition of a retail store,” says a planning report to council.
To undertake that regulatory overhaul, council voted to form a Community Cannabis Advisory Committee comprised of town staff, members of council, the RCMP and representatives from Family and Community Support Services and Policing committees and the chamber of commerce.
The main goal of the committee will be to develop a community cannabis implementation and monitoring plan. It will also look at the ramifications of new marijuana legislation and other issues.
“The legalization of cannabis for recreational use will affect municipalities in a number of areas, including land use management, business licensing, bylaws, public health and education, law enforcement, as well as the social context and human resource policies,” says a report to council.
To ensure those issues are covered, council has called for three sub-committees focused on land use, policing and enforcement, and social and human services.
Blackfalds is one of many communities that have set up committees or taken other steps to get ready for legalized cannabis as best they can.
But there is much that remains unknown — even the implementation date.
The federal government initially set July 1 as the day when new legislation will kick in. However, it is unclear when Bill C-45, which addresses the regulation, sale and cultivation of recreational cannabis, as well as Bill C-46, which is focused on drug-impaired driving, will pass.