Cannabis Legalization

 

It is anticipated that the possession, sale and consumption of cannabis for recreational use will be legalized by the Government of Canada on October 17, 2018.  In preparation for this, the Town of Whitecourt has been working to determine land use regulations, as well as guidelines surrounding consumption within our community.

In response to upcoming federal and provincial legislative changes, the Land Use Bylaw has been amended to allow for the sale of cannabis in specific land use districts.  This change will see cannabis treated similarly to the retail of alcohol products.

Administration is preparing amendments to the Community Standards Bylaw to include restrictions for cannabis consumption, and draft amendments will be reviewed at the August 21 Regular Meeting.  The Town of Whitecourt will be hosting a public information meeting in September to receive comments and feedback from residents.   Details will be posted on www.whitecourt.ca and on the Town’s Facebook page once confirmed.

WHAT IS CANNABIS?

Cannabis refers to products made from the leaves and flowers of the cannabis plant.  It is also referred to as marijuana or pot.   It can be consumed by smoking, vaporizing, eating in food, drinking, dabbing, putting drops under the tongue, or applying it directly to the skin in a lotion.

It is legal to use cannabis today if you have a medical prescription.    (This means if you have a prescription you can purchase cannabis from a licenced medical cannabis producer.) 

As of today, possessing and selling cannabis for non-medical purposes is still illegal everywhere in Canada. 

WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR WHAT?

The following is a breakdown of the jurisdictional responsibilities among the three levels of government.

Federal Government:

Responsible for: possession limits, new criminal offences, advertising, impaired driving, medical cannabis, production, public health, education, taxation, home cultivation, regulatory compliance.

Provincial Government:

Responsible for: impaired driving, public health, education, taxation, workplace safety, distribution/wholesaling, retail model, retail locations and rules, regulatory compliance, public consumption.

Town of Whitecourt:

Responsible for: retail locations and rules, public consumption, land use zoning, education.

RETAIL CANNABIS STORE LICENCING

The Alberta Liquor and Gaming Commission (AGLC) is responsible for regulating private retail cannabis licensing, the distribution of cannabis and operation of the online cannabis store on behalf of the Alberta government.  For more information visit: https://aglc.ca/cannabis/retail-cannabis-store-licences

WHITECOURT LAND USE REGULATIONS

All cannabis stores lcoated within the Town of Whitecourt must have a municipal Development Permit.  A Building Permit may also be required per the Alberta Building Code and/or if there are any renovations that affect the structure of the building.

The Town of Whitecourt has passed an amendment to the Land Use Bylaw to include the word “cannabis” in the definitions for “Retail – General” and “Retail – Hilltop Commercial”.  This allows retail cannabis stores to be allowed in the following land use districts:

  Retail - General Retail - Hilltop Commercial
C-1 Core Commercial - Downtown Permitted  
C-2 Service Commercial Permitted  
C-3 Highway Commercial Discretionary, max. 190m2  
C-5 Main Street - Downtown Permitted  
C-6 Mixed Use Residential - Downtown Discretionary  
C-7 Hilltop Commercial   Discretionary


A map showing the permitted and discretionary use areas within Whitecourt for retail cannabis stores can be found here:

It should also be noted that the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission (AGLC) requires all private cannabis retail stores to be set-back a minimum of 100m from schools and provincial health care facilities.  These setbacks must be considered in any proposed store location.

The Town of Whitecourt is currently accepting applications for permits for the sale of cannabis.  Standard fees and permit processes apply.  For more informaiton please see our Construction and Permitting page on our website, or contact our Planning and Development Department at 780-778-2273 or planning@whitecourt.ca.

WILL THE SALE OF EDIBLES BE ALLOWED?

The federal government intends to allow for the sale of edible products; however, regulatory controls regarding this are still under development by the Government of Canada.

CONSUMPTION OF CANNABIS

Administration for the Town of Whitecourt is preparing amendments to the Community Standards Bylaw to include restrictions for cannabis consumption, and draft amendments will be reviewed at the August 21, 2018 Regular Meeting. 

The Town of Whitecourt will be hosting a public information meeting in September to receive comments and feedback from residents.   Details will be posted on www.whitecourt.ca and on the Town’s Facebook page once confirmed.

ALBERTA proposed RULES REGARDING RECREATIONAL USE OF CANNABIS

The following rules will are proposed to be applied across Alberta once recreational use of cannabis is legalized (anticipated as of October 17, 2018).

  • You must be 18 years old to use cannabis.

  • You must purchase it from licenced stores or www.albertacannabis.org (Alberta’s only legal, recreational online cannabis store which is coming soon)

  • 30 grams is the most you can buy or carry at a time.

  • Driving high is illegal.

  • Cannabis may not be within reach of anyone in a vehicle.

  • Only 4 plants can be grown per household.

  • Edibles are not yet legal to sell.

  • Kids cannot enter cannabis stores.

FOR MORE INFORMATION VISIT

Government of Canada – What you need to know about cannabis in Canada

Government of Alberta - Cannabis Legalization in Alberta

Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission

If you have questions regarding new land use regulations regarding the sale of cannabis please contact the Planning & Development Department at 780-778-2273.