City of Lacombe prepares for legal cannabis

Council has scheduled a public hearing for Bylaw No. 400.16 at 5:30 p.m. on August 13th.

Lacombe City Council gave first reading to a new bylaw which includes proposed amendments to Land Use Bylaw 400 regarding new definitions and changes to the existing definitions of cannabis and the proposed land use districts where cannabis sales and production may be located when federally legal.

Council also scheduled a public hearing for Bylaw No. 400.16 at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, August 13, 2018, at City Hall.

“The upcoming legalization of recreational cannabis has a broad connection to municipal service levels, the impact of which will not be fully realized until the legalization is official,” said Mayor Grant Creasey. “I encourage everyone who wants to comment on this important issue to attend the upcoming public hearing.”

“We have been reviewing a number of the proposed federal and provincial regulations to determine the impacts that this new legislation will have on the City,” said Chief Administrative Officer Matthew Goudy. “Generally speaking, we expect an uptick in permit applications, and increased demand for bylaw and police resourcing.”

The Cannabis Readiness Committee (CRC), an advisory committee to Council, has overseen the development of proposed Land Use Bylaw (LUB) amendments to ensure the municipality is prepared for the legalization of cannabis in August.

The definitions for cannabis sales, production and use will ensure that when legalization occurs, there is no confusion with existing uses within the LUB.

The CRC also reviewed appropriate land use districts for both cannabis sales and cannabis production and distribution. The committee has proposed less restrictive land use regulations than are proposed by other municipalities in the region.

“Our goal was to provide a legislative framework that will attract businesses from an emerging industry to Lacombe, while acknowledging that public intoxication and consumption are not acceptable,” said Director of Planning and Operations Jordan Thompson. “This is similar to the current treatment of the sale and consumption of alcohol.”

The City will begin accepting applications for the retail sale, commercial production and processing of cannabis in Lacombe only after Council approves Bylaw 400.16.

Municipal staff will begin preliminary work on any applications received so that when the Federal Government proceeds with legalization, applications can be processed efficiently. However, because cannabis uses remain illegal up until October 17, 2018, no decisions or referrals to the Municipal Planning Commission will be made on applications until then.

To access the Cannabis Readiness Committee recommendations on the retail sale, commercial production and processing of cannabis in Lacombe, and to provide your feedback, go to: www.lacombe.ca/cannabis.

-Submitted by the City of Lacombe

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