Okotoks Council Establishes Regulations for Recreational Cannabis

During its regular meeting June 25, Okotoks Town Council approved bylaw amendments regulating the location of recreational cannabis retail stores and public consumption. These bylaws will become effective once legalization occurs October 17.

Prior to making the recommendations, Administration had consulted with the public through an online survey to gather the community’s preference on how Okotoks should accommodate the legalization of cannabis. A public hearing was also held on June 25.

“Council considered a number of factors before reaching its decision,” said Mayor Bill Robertson. “As well as the results from the survey, we also had to consider what was reasonable, implementable and enforceable.”

Under the Land Use Bylaw, retail outlets will be permitted as a discretionary use in some commercial and industrial districts, such as the downtown core. Cannabis production and distribution centres will be permitted as a discretionary use in some industrial areas. Discretionary use means that the Town may allow retail outlets after considering the impact of that use on neighbouring land.

Council chose to follow the provincial guidelines of a 100 meter buffer between a cannabis retail outlet and schools and healthcare facilities.

Council followed Calgary’s position in prohibiting any public use of recreational cannabis. There is a provision in the bylaw that permit an application to Council for a designated area for cannabis consumption at an adult-only outdoor event.

In April of 2017, the Federal Government announced that consumption and retail sale of recreational cannabis would become legal in 2018; legalization will take effect in October, 2018.

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Source: Town of Okotoks