As of Thursday 14 applications to develop retail marijuana stores in Red Deer have been filed at city hall.
The city started accepting applications, which must be submitted in person, on July 24. On that day 11 were submitted.
Based on rules that they must 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.
Retailers hoping to sell cannabis have to obtain a development permit and a business licence from the city before opening for business.
Entrepreneurs are applying in preparation for Oct. 17 when recreational marijuana becomes legal across Canada.
“Likely what will happen is the development permits will in fact be issued prior to the date of legalization to allow people the time to actually do renovations that might be required as part of that. But it will be a condition of the approval that they can’t open until the date of legalization,” said Erin Stuart, the city’s inspections and licensing manager.
Only one store location is allowed on each application. Applicants could potentially submit more than one application, but Stuart could not confirm whether anyone was looking at multiple locations.
But she said some of the applications do include variances having to do with separation distances so they must go before the municipal planning commission, likely in early September.
“We will do a neighbourhood notification where there’s a variance that’s requested that’s more than 10 per cent. That’s consistent with our other development permit applications.”
Applications without variances will be processed through August by a city development officer, but applicants will have to wait for city council to finalize the business licence application. The licence bylaw will be before council on August 20.
Stuart said approved permits will be published on Fridays in the Advocate just like any other land use approvals, and the information will also be made public on the city’s website.
Approvals can be appealed, and the appeal period is 21 days.