Marijuana possession, use and even sales are expected to be legal in Canada as of October 17 and the Town of Drumheller is getting ready.
Town Councilors met on Monday and gave third reading to an amended bylaw that controls where cannabis retailers will be allowed to do business.
The amendments see the minimum distance from schools and hospitals reduced to 100 metres from 150. Home schools, day homes, post secondary schools and the like are not included under 'schools'. The distance is already specified under Alberta's liquor control laws.
"When we talked to other communities, basically a lot of them were doing the exact same thing," noted CAO Darryl Drohomerski. "Instead of creating our own thing that may or may not be in compliance, let's just follow AGLC (Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission) and then if AGLC decides that they want to change something we don't have to change anything at our end; we're just following the provincial government's regulations."
Councilors also scrapped a proposal that cannabis retailers not be allowed within 300 metres of each other, something that drew strong criticism at a recent public hearing on the matter.
"Council and administration wanted to have lots of separation, not realizing that 300 metres is actually quite a big distance," explained Drohomerski. "Part of what we'll do this fall is go back through some regular changes in our Land Use Bylaw; we're going to update those numbers to coincide with the cannabis retailers. If they want to be next to each other, great."
Drumheller Town Council also gave first reading to an amended Community Standards Bylaw where it refers to the use of marijuana in public.
"The way I think about it is that there are no-smoking policies in place in Alberta now; for instance, you can't smoke in a restaurant (and) you can't smoke on the patio of a restaurant, you have to be outside so many metres away," stated Drohomerski. "That would be the same requirements for (medicinal) cannabis; and it's the same requirements for alcohol, you can't walk down the street with open alcohol in Alberta anywhere."
The amended Community Standards Bylaw will be publicised for public comment before it comes back to Council for second and third reading.