(Advocate file photo).

Red Deer city council decides no cannabis distance relaxations, despite realtor’s urging

Brett Salomons asks why this business is being treated differently?

A city realtor argued that the city needs to allow some flexibility in distance rules between cannabis retailers.

At a public hearing at city hall on Monday, Brett Salomons, a commercial real estate agent, said the largest publicly traded cannabis company in the world, Canopy Growth Corp., can’t set up a subsidiary in the former Sam’s restaurant location near Gaetz Avenue and 71st Street because an independent business person claimed a spot for a small cannabis retail location that’s within 300-metres.

Council previously determined it would grant absolutely no variances on this distance rule between cannabis outlets. Administrators said requests for variances have been coming in, with one applicant wanting a 70 per cent relaxation.

But Salomons believes each request should still be considered on a case-by-case basis. “We don’t have these restrictions around liquor stores,” gas locations, or grocery stores, said Salomons, who wondered why cannabis locations are being singled out for stricter treatment?

He noted Red Deer’s distance rules are already significantly greater than the province’s guideline of 100 metres between locations, which was adapted by Calgary, Edmonton and many other centres.

But council stuck to its decision not to allow any distance variances. Only Councillors Dianne Wyntjes and Frank Wong opposed this. Wong argued that even a 70 per cent variance would be within the ballpark of the provincial 100-metre guideline.

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