Medical Cannabis oil

Red Deer city council wants more cannabis retail regulation options

Council wrestled with setback distances from cannabis retailers on Monday

Red Deer city council put the brakes on cannabis retail bylaw amendments after concerns arose they were too restrictive.

Councillors proposed a number of amendments that would significantly reduce proposed setbacks from cannabis retailers to schools, recreation facilities, daycares and other cannabis stores.

Since the changes amounted to major changes, the bylaw could not have gone ahead without taking it before the public again at another public hearing.

Instead of debating and approving specific amendments, council asked staff to come back with a report within a month on setback options and their implications.

During a public hearing Monday, council heard from a number of people who said the bylaw was too restrictive and would leave too few locations where cannabis retailers could set up.

Ryan Sawatzky, developer of Timberlands Market, said the 300-metre setback from a daycare could have the unintended effect of making it more difficult for daycares to open.

Sawatzky, of Okotoks-based Developments 2 Inc., said he has a daycare in his development on 30th Avenue and the 300-metre setback leaves no room for a cannabis retailer in the 13-acre development.

Future developers could favour profitable cannabis retailers over daycares, leaving fewer child-minding options available to parents.

He suggested cannabis retailers be treated more like liquor stores and let the market decide where they set up.

“The market will get it right,” he said.

Commercial realtor Brett Salomons urged council to drop the 300-metre separation distances between cannabis stores.

If council wants to limit the number of stores, it should limit the number of licences and let the market decide where they go, said Salomons, who urged council to be consistent with regulations elsewhere.

Other speakers pointed out cannabis retail will be a legal business and should be treated the same way as other businesses. Rather than establish blanket setbacks, cannabis retail applications should be treated on a case-by-case basis, said one speaker.

A city online survey drew a big response with nearly 1,500 weighing in. The results generally support a more conservative approach, council was told.

Many of the city’s proposed regulations are much tighter than those proposed by the province or Edmonton and Calgary. For instance, the province proposes no cannabis retail within 100 metres of a school. Calgary and Edmonton proposed 150 and 200 metres, respectively.

Red Deer’s bylaw includes a 300-metre setback.

The province suggested a 10-metre setback from daycares. Red Deer proposes 300 metres.

Several people suggested council stick with the recommendations from the Alberta Liquor and Gaming Commission, which are not as restrictive as those Red Deer was considering.

Mayor Tara Veer said cannabis retailing has been a unique regulating challenge. It is like both tobacco, which has its own set of regulations, and liquor retailing, where issues such as impairment and social concerns have created another set of regulations.

Part of the challenge for Alberta’s municipalities is the “mixed messaging” coming from the province on how to deal with cannabis retailing, said Veer.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Alberta premier unhappy with Suzuki honorary degree but defends academic freedom

EDMONTON — Premier Rachel Notley says she does not agree with the… Continue reading

Sylvan Lake wants to create year-round tourist season

Public open house and workshops held May 10-12

Historical bylaws show a different Lacombe

Staff combed through records to find hundreds of outdated bylaws still on the books

Gravel companies facing fee increase

Red Deer County considering raising levy charged to gravel companies for road repairs

Excessive dog poop on Blackfalds ball diamonds frustrates town

Melting snow in Blackfalds uncovered ball diamonds full of dog poop, frustrating… Continue reading

WATCH: Red Deer students get active, healthy

Healthy Active Schools Symposium takes place in schools

Poll: Advocate readers support Trans Mountain pipeline expansion

Red Deer Advocate readers want the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion to be… Continue reading

Celebrate all women this Mother’s Day in Central Alberta

A breakfast fundraiser is scheduled May 12 in Lacombe

Photo: Poplar Ridge Grade 6 class learn about newspapers

Red Deer Advocate editor Crystal Rhyno visited the school on Wednesday

‘The Heat’ doc examines gender barriers for top female chefs

TORONTO — In making a documentary about top female chefs, Toronto filmmaker… Continue reading

Hank Azaria willing to stop voicing Apu on ‘The Simpsons’

NEW YORK — Hank Azaria is ready to stop voicing Kwik-E-Mart owner… Continue reading

US stocks mostly fall in wobbly trading as costs, rates rise

NEW YORK — U.S. stocks are wobbling and trading mostly lower Wednesday… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month