Lacombe County is teaming up with Alberta Health Services to get a read on how the public wants to see cannabis regulated.
A pair of public meetings will take place — July 17 at the Bentley Community Hall, and July 18 at the Mirror Hall. Both meetings will run from 6 to 9 p.m.
The county is the latest Central Alberta municipality to roll out a plan to find a way to incorporate legalized cannabis into existing regulations while acknowledging social norms.
County planner Cajun Paradis said through discussions led by facilitators, those attending the public meetings will be asked specific questions about potential regulations and what would be appropriate places for cannabis production, retail or consumption.
The county is looking for feedback on what sort of rules and regulations should be adopted for the retail, production and distribution of cannabis. As well, the county wants to know what people would like to see when it comes to public cannabis consumption.
After seeing, Alberta Health Services present its Cannabis: Let’s Talk Alberta program in Lacombe, county staff recommended joining forces with the province for the public meetings.
“We liked some of the information they provided the public in terms of community health and the importance of having dialogue around cannabis,” said Paradis. “We’re teaming up with them to take advantage of their knowledge around those aspects.”
The province will discuss how it has prepared for legalized cannabis and the county’s planning and development department will talk about its land use and development concerns. The protective services department will discuss the impact of cannabis consumption on community standards.
Recommendations will go to council in the fall.
Paradis said there is a lot of variation in how communities are preparing for legalized cannabis.
“It’s one of those things where every municipality is taking a different approach to it,” she said. “Our approach is we want to go out to our public and hear what they have to say before we come up with any anticipated bylaw changes.”
Last week, the Town of Blackfalds announced it was putting a moratorium on cannabis-related development permits until new regulations are in place and is setting up a community cannabis advisory committee.
Sylvan Lake had an open house on the issue in April, and its council was considering a total ban on public cannabis consumption along the lines of alcohol regulations.
Clearwater County and Red Deer County have also tweaked their bylaws in anticipation of legalized cannabis and most other Central Alberta municipalities have either changed their regulations or are working on it.