Pubdate: Fri, 10 Mar 2017
Source: Metro (Edmonton, CN AB)
Copyright: 2017 Metro Canada
Author: Jeremy Simes
Page: 3


City report addresses marijuana dispensaries

The city is getting a head start on preparing for the expected growth
of legal pot shops in Edmonton, but at least one business owner eyeing
a future store wants more answers.

Edmonton addressed marijuana dispensaries for the first time in a
report released Thursday, as it waits for the federal government to
release more details on its expected bill to legalize sales of
cannabis for recreational use.

The report is the first look into what legal pot in Edmonton could
look like: it outlines where marijuana can be grown, and adds
'cannabis retail sales' and 'cannabis lounges' to a bylaw that governs
the development of bars and other retail stores.

The changes would mean you can't grow cannabis in greenhouses and
garden centres. You also wouldn't be allowed to grow weed - unless
licensed by Health Canada - in urban outdoor farms, non-commercial
farms or rural farms, according to Colton Kirsop, a city planner with

"The city is being proactive and getting our bylaw in good shape to be
really clear on what kinds of activities are allowable at this time,"
he said.

But details like how far apart the pot stores or lounges can be from
one another weren't provided.

Frederick Pels, CEO of the Green Room - a marijuana information store
in Old Strathcona that intends to become a dispensary when legal -
said he hoped the city would've provided more details on possible changes.

He said he doesn't want laws to be too restrictive, for example,
allowing pot shops only in farflung, unattractive areas of the city.

"We don't want to be hiding under blankets in dark alleys with buzzers
for everybody," he said. "There's a need for regulation, but
over-regulation could be dangerous as well."

But conversations over where the shops can be located are for a later
time, according to Kirsop.

"That will happen only if the federal government allows for
municipalities to have a role," he said. "There are dependencies on
those two other orders of government (the province and feds)."

Kirsop said Edmonton can expect more details on the government's pot
bill in June.

"We will have thorough public engagement around the potential future
of non-medical cannabis," he said. "This process is going take some

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The cost of offering pot

With new legal pot shops likely to open in Edmonton in the next few
years, the city is expected to have to spend more money to regulate
and monitor them.

That's according to a report the city released Thursday.

It showed cities like Vancouver and Victoria have charged annual
licensing fees for marijuana-related business.

Businesses in Vancouver pay $30,000 per year while those in Victoria
get a relative bargain at $5,000 per year.

Colton Kirsop, a city planner in Edmonton, said the city will consider
charging such fees if federal legislation lets Edmonton have such control.

"We know, one way or another, we'll need to have some cost recovery
because it will take additional time to administer and monitor this
new use in our city," he said.

"We strive to cover our costs, so there will be an opportunity for us
to consider that (licence fees)."
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