Red Deer has approved 10 cannabis retail location applications. (File photo by BLACK PRESS)

More cannabis retailers seek to open in Red Deer

One application denied by MPC on Wednesday

Red Deer has approved 10 cannabis retail applications, with seven more to go before the municipal planning commission in coming weeks.

Retailers require approvals from both the city and Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis.

Even though recreational marijuana becomes legal across Canada on Oct. 17, the opening of the stores will depend on final approvals, as well as when retailers are actually prepared to open, said Beth McLachlan, city development officer.

She said a couple of applications are coming in Oct. 17, which will be confirmed by the end of the week. Then the next municipal planning meeting likely won’t be until November, so a couple could be heard then.

“Since the initial application date when we had 10 applicants in the same day, it’s only trickled in,” McLachlan said on Wednesday.

Rules require cannabis retail stores in Red Deer to be 300 metres apart, 300 metres from schools and playgrounds, and located along either arterial routes or in the downtown.

There’s room for an estimated 35 stores in the city.

On Wednesday, the municipal planning commission declined approval for a location at 6842 50th Ave. in Normandeau put forward by Fire & Flower, of Edmonton, because two cannabis retail sites were already approved along the same block.

Fire & Flower has already received a city development permit for a site under construction at 105-3119 49th Ave.

“There are several stages of construction and inspection that are required, including AGLC inspection,” said Matthew Anderson, vice-president of business and legal affairs with Fire & Flower.

He said the company will reassess whether to apply for another Red Deer location.

Fire & Flower has already received interim licences for three sites, one each in Fort Saskatchewan, St. Albert and Edmonton which allows it to order and ship product to retail locations in preparation for legalization.

“We are seeking 37 locations throughout Alberta, which is the maximum the AGLC has said we’re able to seek. We are a company that is looking to be a leading, responsible-use retailer throughout any market that allows private retail in Canada.”

He said municipalities have different rules, but many have chosen to refer to the provincial requirements, which do not include a 300-metre separation between cannabis retailers as Red Deer has put in place.

“They chose to do 300 metres, which makes it a little more difficult to do business here, but we still like the community and we want to be here,” said Suhail Khoury, vice-president of real estate and construction with Fire & Flower.

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