Town of High River Seeks Feedback on Upcoming Cannabis Regulations

HIGH RIVER, AB: The Town of High River Planning and Development Services Division has launched an online survey to collect feedback from the public and industry leaders on the upcoming cannabis regulations for High River.

“Currently, the sale or production of cannabis for recreational use is not legal in Canada,” says Sarah Peck, Planner I for the Town. “The Government of Canada and the Government of Alberta are working closely to establish the necessary legislative and regulatory frameworks to guide the production and the retail sales of recreational cannabis, as well as several other related considerations, including control of public consumption, private (home) cultivation, and legal enforcement mechanisms to ensure public safety and compliance.”

In anticipation of both the federal and provincial levels of government moving toward final adoption of their requirements this summer, the Town of High River has initiated the review and preparation of draft amendments to the Land Use Bylaw to regulate cannabis-related businesses, including retail stores, production/processing facilities and cannabis counselling clinics at the municipal level. The Land Use Bylaw amendments will align with all associated federal and provincial legislation.

“The Town’s Planning and Development Services Division has begun developing a report for Council that will provide their recommendations on the regulation of cannabis-related businesses in High River. The report will be finalized and delivered to Council in the spring of 2018,” adds Peck.

High River residents and industry leaders have an opportunity to contribute to the report and share their comments in the form of an online survey, which is available now and will remain open until March 30.

After receiving the report, Council will then direct Administration to prepare the necessary amendments to the Land Use Bylaw, which will incorporate the recommended definitions, districts and administrative processes. A Public Hearing will be scheduled to provide further opportunity for comment on the proposed amendments.

“The Town’s objective is to have the regulations in place and the amendments to the Land Use Bylaw completed within the same timeframe as the federal government’s finalization of the recreational cannabis legalization process, now anticipated for some time in August of 2018,” adds Peck.

At this preliminary stage, the Town’s intent is to create the appropriate definitions to distinguish retail, production/processing and cannabis counselling clinics, and identify the appropriate zoning designations where applications for such businesses will be considered, depending on the nature of the proposal.

The Central Business District (CBD), the Neighbourhood Centre District (NCD), and the Service and Development District (SED) are all under consideration as potential districts for some form of cannabis retail and/or production enterprise. Only cannabis counselling clinics that are used for medical advice and not distribution or sales would be considered in the Traditional Neighbourhood Districts (TND).

Town Administration will also review and determine more specific locational regulations, beyond what has already been proscribed by the Government of Alberta, such as buffer/separation distances from facilities such as schools, parks and medical facilities.

Town staff are committed to developing regulations that fit the needs of the community and the needs of business and industry stakeholders.

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