Pubdate: Wed, 15 Mar 2017
Source: Metro (Edmonton, CN AB)
Copyright: 2017 Metro Canada
Author: Jeremy Simes
Page: 8


Officials mull ground rules for looming legalization

City staff are laying the ground rules for possible legal pot shops in

Councillors discussed a city report Tuesday that provides an initial
look on what legal pot could look like as the city waits for the
federal government to release more details on plans to legalize the
sale of cannabis for recreational use.

In the report, the city proposes adding "cannabis retail sales" and
"cannabis lounges" to a bylaw that currently regulates development of
bars and retail stores.

If the amendments aren't made, it would suggest people looking at
opening a pot shop could skirt around the rules, senior city planner
Colton Kirsop told council.

"The idea of moving forward with these changes is we will create new
uses so, upon legislation, if anyone wants to open a retail sale,
they'll have to come and get a new development permit for that," he

The bylaw would outlaw growing cannabis in greenhouses and garden
centres, in addition to urban outdoor farms, non-commercial farms or
rural farms unless licensed by Health Canada.

Currently, people can grow medical cannabis in Edmonton's industrial
areas as long as they are licensed by the federal government.

Councillors voted to move the proposed changes for further debate at a
public hearing later this year, where staff will likely return with
more details, like where pot shops would be permitted.

"The road to legislation could take up to a year or more," Kirsop
said. "Conversations have also been initiated by the province."

The city is also looking at ways to generate revenue from legal pot
shops, which could come in the form of licensing fees. For instance,
Vancouver charges marijuana dispensaries $30,000 per year.

"We should really be considering those high fees," Coun. Dave Loken
told council. "Especially if the feds or the province don't step up,
we're going to be stuck with the enforcement."

The federal government's draft legislation is expected in June.
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