Pubdate: Wed, 15 Mar 2017
Source: Edmonton Journal (CN AB)
Copyright: 2017 The Edmonton Journal
Author: Elise Stolte
Page: A1


Edmonton moved to close loopholes in the zoning bylaw Tuesday to
ensure marijuanasales can't happen in corner stores and residential

The zoning changes will also specifically ban toking in pubs, a move
city planners called "preventative maintenance" to prepare Edmonton
for the coming legalization of recreational marijuana use.

"So operations aren't able to legitimize blended uses," said senior
planner Colton Kirsop at council's executive committee.

Kirsop recommended other zoning changes and smoking bans be delayed
until the federal rules are clear so council debate doesn't "get lost
in the weeds." Ottawa is expected in June to introduce legislation
regarding recreational marijuana, with legalization to follow in 2019.
Based on task force recommendations, it appears it will also legalize
cannabis lounges, but ban drinking and smoking there, say city staff.

The federal government would also regulate the personal production of
marijuana, likely to four plants per site, said staff. In addition, it
has moved from the term and spelling of "marihuana" to "cannabis."
Edmonton is now using the term "cannabis" for its bylaw.

Les Hagen with Action on Smoking and Health argued at committee any
stiff zoning regulations also be applied to tobacco sales, since they
are causing more health problems. His concern is increased marijuana
use will "re-normalize" smoking.

Councillors debated whether enforcement costs could be recovered
through high business licensing fees. But that's still unclear.

"We don't want to be stuck with ridiculous costs on this," Coun.
Michael Oshry said before committee approved the report, sending the
basic zoning changes to a public hearing.


The proposed zoning changes would specifically prohibit the sale and
consumption of cannabis in bars, neighbourhood pubs, nightclubs and
private clubs. It would prohibit the sale of cannabis from convenience
stores and general retail stores, and prohibit the sale, production or
shipping of cannabis as a home-based business.

The changes would also prohibit an area zoned for a greenhouse, garden
centre or nursery from being used to grow cannabis. That would only be
permitted, if licensed by Health Canada, in areas zoned for urban
indoor or outdoor farm, rural or non-commercial farm or urban garden.

The Health Canada licence prohibits production beside a school,
playground or other place frequented by children.

Edmonton's zoning regulations would allow a Health Canada licensed
production and distribution facility in any areas zoned for general
industrial use.

City officials said any further zoning changes should wait until the
federal rules around recreational use become more clear.

The federal task force has suggested anyone growing cannabis for
personal use should be limited to four plants, which city officials
say shouldn't need further municipal regulations.
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