Municipalities across Alberta are dealing with the looming legalization of cannabis in a variety of ways.
For Bashaw, the provincial rules and regulations surrounding the product was good enough. These include use in public plus the licencing and dispensing of the product.
Bashaw town council barely broached the topic when it was brought up during its meeting on March 22.
CAO Theresa Fuller explained council readily accepted the setback rules the province has in place and never really talked about the issue.
“The conversation really didn’t go into great detail,” she said.
“We anticipate that through the upcoming community engagements for a strategic plan, Municipal Development Plan and Land Use Bylaw, if residents express the need for greater control, it will surface at that time.”
Provincial legislation, under regulations through the renamed Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Commission (AGLCC), outline the specifics of where a licenced cannabis dispensary can be located. In essence, no dispensary can have any exterior wall within 100 metres of any land or building that has a school or provincial health care facility. That distance restriction also applies to land designated as reserved for municipal or school use as per the Municipal Government Act.
The rules do allow municipalities to regulate licenced dispensaries through its own land use bylaws, which Bashaw has chosen not to do.
A bylaw could include more stringent setback distances, specify areas where dispensaries can be placed and tighter hours of operation — all of which the AGLCC will adhere to in making conditions businesses must meet before a licence would be issued.
Other items licenced businesses must also comply with include enhanced security measures — cameras with recording devices, monitored detection alarms, locked showcases, measures to prevent unauthorized access to the building and perimeter and hours limited to 10 a.m. to 2 a.m.
In addition, the province announced April 9 more proposed regulations that state fines for non-compliance and restrict branding to further protect Albertans.
The proposals would ban names of businesses or products that could be aimed at those under 18 or may hint at medical connotations, limit what symbols and terms can be used on signage or packaging, hike the maximum fine for infractions from $200,000 to $1 million and place the same limits on cannabis smoking or vaping as are currently in place for tobacco.