Council this week endorsed the Cannabis Readiness Committee’s (CRC) recommendations developed in response to the proposed legalization of recreational cannabis this year.
“I am pleased to say that the committee has proposed less restrictive land use regulations than what is being proposed by other municipalities in the region,” said Councillor Jonathan Jacobson. “Our goal is to provide a legislative framework that will attract business from an emerging industry to Lacombe, while acknowledging that public intoxication and consumption are not acceptable – much the same as we treat the sale and consumption of alcohol.”
Council also directed Administration to prepare a single land use bylaw, including new and modified definitions for cannabis and cannabis-related land uses, along with the remaining land use bylaw revisions required to enact the land use recommendations of the CRC.
“The proposed legalization has a broad connection to municipal service levels,” said Planning and Operations Director Jordan Thompson. “While the impacts will not be fully realized until cannabis is legal, we are anticipating an uptick in permit applications, and increased demand for bylaw and police resources.”
The legalization of cannabis is not expected until late summer or early fall. To ensure that it is prepared well in advance, City administration has drafted specific Land Use Bylaw (LUB) amendments that support the CRC’s recommendations.
They include the adoption of new LUB definitions for cannabis and related uses, along with proposed locations where cannabis and cannabis accessories may be sold, where cannabis may be produced, and where cannabis may be consumed.
“We want to ensure that when the legalization comes into effect, there is no confusion with existing uses within the Land Use Bylaw,” said Planning and Development Manager Debbie Bonnett.
The CRC’ recommendations closely align the public consumption of cannabis with that of liquor.
It also recommends that the smoking of cannabis and tobacco be restricted in public places, such as parks and other City lands.
The committee also recommends raising the awareness of existing community supports around addictions issues, and using a portion of any cannabis excise tax received by the City to fund programs focused on reducing the prevalence and harm of addiction in Lacombe.
-Submitted by the City of Lacombe