City Council today approved changes to the Land Use Bylaw that set out where retail cannabis stores will be allowed to locate when recreational cannabis becomes legal in October.
The changes will make retail cannabis stores a permitted use within five types of commercial districts in the city, provided they are located at least 100 metres from the property lines of any schools, future school sites or provincial health care facilities. Cannabis retailers will have to meet all provincial licensing requirements by the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission (AGLC) in order to receive municipal development approval to operate.
"This bylaw update ensures Lethbridge has land-use guidelines in place that provide certainty for business people interested in opening retail cannabis stores in the city," says Mayor Chris Spearman. "It establishes reasonable distance requirements for these stores that are aligned with those recommended by the province."
The Government of Canada recently announced that possession of up to 30 grams of recreational cannabis will become legal across the country on Oct. 17, 2018. Under the updated bylaw, retail cannabis stores will be treated like other retail stores and will be a permitted use in Downtown Commercial, General Commercial, Highway Commercial, Neighbourhood Commercial and Shopping Mall Commercial districts. AGLC regulations prohibit retail cannabis stores from being co-located within businesses that sell alcohol, tobacco products or pharmaceutical drugs.
City administration is awaiting possible federal or provincial regulations on public consumption before determining whether to propose any local bylaw restrictions.
Gerald Gauthier, Communications Consultant
City of Lethbridge