Stettler Council council gave first reading to an amended land use bylaw to allow Cannabis retail sales.
The bylaw proposes sales only in commercial and industrial land use areas.
“Private dwellings are likely not suitable,” Shawna Benson from the county’s legislative services told council in her report during their regular meeting Aug. 8.
Federal and provincial regulations require a 100-metre minimum setback between cannabis stores and places where there are youth. Stettler County’s proposed bylaw makes it a 300-metre setback.
Benson said that although it’s not the intent of the proposed setback, the 300-metre distance will likely mean that hamlets in the county, because of their small size, likely won’t be able to have Cannabis stores as they would be too close to areas where there are youth.
The federal government passed the Cannabis Act, a bill legalizing marijuana effective Oct. 17. The provincial government approved a bill amending the Gaming and Liquor Act to the Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Act. In addition, they created regulations for retail cannabis stores, which the province will oversee. The federal government will regulate cannabis production. The provincial government will regulate its distribution and retail sales, in cooperation with municipalities.
Municipalities can’t prohibit cannabis production and sales but they can determine their location and setback requirements.
Six-hundred-thirty-four people responded to the county’s online survey about Cannabis.
Seventy-eight per cent were either neutral or not concerned about setback distances. Sixty-nine per cent wanted the setbacks between cannabis stores and places where youth gather to be 200 metres or more. Only 23 per cent were concerned about the location of cannabis stores.
Council gave the bylaw first reading and set a public hearing on Sept. 12 in county council chambers.