180530, 2018 ~ Vol. 89 No. 22
Municipality prepares for cannabis legalization with bylaw
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
Pass Herald Reporter
With the federal government's impending legalization of recreational use of cannabis by this summer or fall, Crowsnest Pass municipal government is taking steps to introduce bylaws to be ready for the legalization.

Bylaw 999, 2018 - Cannabis Related Uses Land Use Bylaw Amendment is a modification to the Land Use Bylaw. According to Patrick Thomas, Chief Administrative Officer (CAO), the municipality sought input from Oldman River Regional Services Commission (ORRSC) and legal advice in drafting the bylaw. Council passed second reading of the bylaw on May 15. A public hearing took place prior to second reading.

The bylaw creates a new retail commercial C-4 district where the sale of cannabis is a permitted use. Businesses that would like to engage in the sale of cannabis products would need to submit an application for a rezoning the property.

No lot has been zoned as "C-4". It is on a case-by-case basis that applicants would bring forth an application for rezoning which would go to Council for approval.

Minimum separation distances have been outlined in the bylaw between cannabis retail facilities and several key institutions.
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The federal government has set the separation distance between cannabis retail and provincial healthcare facilities as 100 m and 200 for schools. The municipality has set more stringent distances for other facilities like childcare providers (200 m), parks, recreation centres and liquor stores (100 m) and other cannabis retail outlets (300 m).

"The federal government has a base number, but they have allowed municipalities to set their own guidelines as well. These are the recommendations that ORRSC provided to us, our planning advisors. From their research with the various municipalities, these are the setbacks that they recommended," says Thomas. "The advice that a lot of municipalities have been receiving is that, especially at the start, it's better to be more stringent because in the future, you can always be relax the rules, but it's hard to become more stringent in the future."

The Sentinel Industrial Park has been designated as allowing cannabis production facilities. This is the only land use district within Crowsnest Pass that allows cannabis production.

"It's an isolated location, it's an industrial location where you would site production facilities and looking at the other uses, it was felt that it was a compatible use to there," says Thomas.

Currently in the Sentinel area, there is a private helicopter, a U-Haul, Blairmore Precision Machining & Welding, a storage yard for Alberta Environment and Parks, gravel pits, Crowsnest River RV Park and the former production facility Arctic Spas.
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Accessibility to water was a concern expressed by a public member of the gallery at the public hearing. According to Thomas, water would be something that the developer would have to solve. The municipality has been exploring extending a permanent potable water source to the area, but this is a project that has been explored long before the cannabis bylaw or potential legalization, says Thomas.

According to Thomas, the municipality has received inquiries from potential cannabis manufacturers, but no formal applications.

The bylaw also sets a definition for cannabis lounges, facilities where cannabis is sold and can be consumed on-site. Cannabis lounges are not a permitted use within the municipality.

"We wanted to make a clear distinction that it can't be considered similar to a lounge that a drinking establishment would have, that it is its own separate use defined in the bylaw. However, it is not allowed anywhere, which makes it prohibited," says Thomas.

A date for third reading of the bylaw has not yet been set.
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180530, 2018 ~ Vol. 89 No. 22
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