Red Deer appears to be joining the “green rush.”
A proposal to open a cannabis retail store in a north-side strip mall was turned down by the city’s municipal planning commission on Thursday because two other approved marijuana outlets would be within the allowed 300 metres.
That amounts to clustering, said planners, who recommended rejecting the application by Victoria, B.C.-based Trees Cannabis Company to put a marijuana shop in a former nail salon at 6782 50th Ave.
Another shop has already been approved 150 metres away at 6802 50th Ave., and 226 metres away at 6751 50th Ave.
Alix Reynolds, Trees Cannabis Company’s community liaison, took the commission’s decision in stride.
“It’s pretty expected,” she said, adding she has plenty of experience before planning commissions and what they are looking for.
Despite the setback, the company may look for other locations in Red Deer.
“It’s definitely a possibility. We’re looking at many locations across the province,” she said.
“There’s definitely, for sure, a green rush or a gold rush, as you will. There’s a lot of desire to get into the industry here in Alberta because of the way they’ve set up the private sector.
“I think a lot of the spaces, even in the small communities, the small towns in Alberta, have all been kind of snapped already.
“We see people who are interested in selling or exchanging these licences as they get approved. It’ll be interesting to see what happens in the next six months with a lot of these approvals and to see how far they go and if they change hands or not.”
In rejecting the application, commission member Coun. Lawrence Lee said allowing three cannabis shops so close together would appear excessive to the public.
Approval would also restrict what other businesses could be located nearby, such as a day care.
“You’re limiting the future uses, and I think that would be a concern to me,” said Lee.
Coun. Vesna Higham pointed out the latest application required two variances in the setbacks required under the city’s Land Use Bylaw.
Mayor Tara Veer said while the planning commission can allow variances to setback regulations, they must be reasonable concessions.
“This application would constitute clustering in that particular sector in the north,” she said.
Another marijuana outlet, Green Town, is expected to open its doors soon at 5111 49th St. after getting its licence from the Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Commission.
Green Town was one of 50 cannabis providers listed on the AGLC website earlier this month. Stettler’s Fire & Flower Cannabis Co. also made the list.