City Council has granted first reading to Bylaw 12-2018, which is the amendment of the Land Use Bylaw and incorporates changes pertaining to cannabis legalization.
“I can’t stress how important (it is), we do need to take and create bylaws today that deal with the issues we face today, and we are being prepared for,” said Mayor Gerald Aalbers.
Within the bylaw it’s stated there is to be a 100-metre setback from public parks and city-owned recreation facilities, which adds consistency to the Alberta Cannabis Framework, which notes a 100 metres separation from schools and provincial health care facilities.
“We felt at this time … that we can bring forward a package that is reasonable, gives us some control as a municipality to control where businesses are located in the cannabis field, to ensure our residents receive the protection they are looking for, at the same time still being open to business,” said Aalbers
Coun. Ken Baker had some thoughts during the meeting about it possibly being too soon with the first reading.
“I believe when you start doing a complete bylaw of land use bylaws, and people get to believe that is what it is, and in fact, it’s not because it won’t be approved until such times as we have that information. I think it’s premature, you can get it ready but bringing it forward for first reading doesn’t solve the problem,” he explained.
He said there is just confusion surrounding cannabis since not all the information is available.
“We are confused, I know council is confused, administration is confused because we don’t have clear direction when we are dealing with two provinces and a federal government, that it’s creating problems with our land use bylaw. So, at the end of the day my position is why are we dealing with this until we get the right information,” said Baker.
According to Coun. Jonathan Torresan, he has seen three applications sent to the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission for cannabis retailers on the Alberta side of Lloydminster.
“Two have already gone through the process and there is one on there that is currently out for review,” he said.
Aalbers stated they don’t have control over the number of businesses that choose to retail cannabis in the city, but they can determine where they are located.
“Because it is a federal matter, and also the province has some regulations in place we cannot set laws that dictate we can’t override those laws,” he said.