Medical marijuana is shown in Toronto, Nov. 5, 2017. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Blackfalds readying for legal weed

While they’re still waiting for the federal and provincial governments to finalize their marijuana legalization laws, Blackfalds has started developing its own rules.

Mayor Richard Poole said the town wants to know how much of the federal and provincial regulations will cover what their residents are concerned about. The town has launched a public consultation to ask residents questions about the implications of legal recreational marijuana.

“There are a number of regulations that are going to come down from the federal and provincial government,” said Poole. “If they could both get the regulations out there, it would be a lot easier for municipalities to try to get their act together and get laws in place that are going to make it the best for their community.”

An online survey has been posted to the town’s website.

The survey has 14 questions ranging from the distance a new cannabis retail store should be built from schools, daycare centres, liquor stores and other cannabis stores; hours of operation; where it can be smoked; to the rules around edible cannabis and the potential for venues that allow consumption.

Largely, the town’s ability to regulate marijuana will be within zoning for retail stores and small grow operations and with community standards, such as their smoking bylaw, which bans smoking in public spaces and workplaces and within five metres of doors, windows and intakes.

“Some municipalities already have bylaws in place that don’t allow any smoking in any public area,” said Poole. “We haven’t done that in Blackfalds at this point, but it is something our municipality has to look at and talk about.”

Legal recreational cannabis will be available in Canada later this year. A July 1 target originally set by the federal government will not occur, as the Senate will not finish its review of the law until early June.

In Alberta, cannabis will be sold at private stores, but online sales will be controlled by the government. The legal age for consumption will be 18, the same as alcohol and tobacco.

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