Cannabis retail sales and consumption bylaw discussed by County
Camrose County is currently debating bylaws for consumption and retail of cannabis ahead of October when it is to be legalized across Canada. File photo/Postmedia Network
Camrose County is examining County-specific pot policies in preparation for the drug’s legalization this October.
At the June 28 regular meeting of the council, an amendment to the land use bylaw to include policies for cannabis retail sales passed its second and third reading and, as a separate agenda item, council examined options for regulating public cannabis consumption beyond the federal and provincial legislation.
Camrose County manager of planning Anjah Howard presented four potential cannabis consumption by-law models for council to consider. Council directed administration to provide more information on two of these options for further discussion at a future meeting.
Option B is to regulate cannabis consumption by provincial rules with the addition of regulations at county parks.
Provincial regulation states no person may smoke or vape cannabis in an area where that person is prohibited from smoke tobacco, this being in a public place, workplace, in a vehicle where a minor is present, in a public vehicle or within five metres from a doorway, window or air intake of a public place or workplace. Additionally, smoking cannabis prohibited on any hospital property, school property, childcare facility or within five metres from a playground, sports field, skateboard or bicycle park, zoo, outdoor theatre, outdoor pool or splash pad. There will also be a ban on smoking from any motor vehicles, with the exception of those being used as a temporary residence, like a parked RV.
Council would supplement this with two amendments to the current parks bylaw that would see the definition of nuisance changed from drunkenness to intoxication, as well as an additional clause stating that “no person shall consume any intoxicating substance, including but not limited alcohol or cannabis, except within a camping stall and in compliance with provincial and federal legislation."
Regulating consumption at public parks will reduce potential traffic from city residents who are limited in their public consumption.
Howard indicated this is the option county peace officers would prefer.
Option D would prohibit any form of cannabis consumption including smoking and vaping and edibles in all public places with a legal exemption for medical users. This would essentially restrict cannabis consumption to private home use.
Division 5 councillor Bryan Willoughby and Division 4 councillor Trevor Miller expressed support for Option D.
“I don’t want to infringe on people’s rights but I also don’t want to infringe on a person’s right to be in a public place and not be affected by intoxication. That’s infringing on their rights,” said Miller.
County Reeve Don Gregorwich acknowledged it would be difficult enforce, as it would extend significant restrictions on provincial legislation.
Willoughby was interested to know why cannabis is classified differently than alcohol.
Council showed little interest in Option A, to follow just provincial legislation, and C, to introduce a smoking bylaw.
When cannabis is legalized on Oct. 16, it will be available from provincially authorized retailers. The federal government will continue to license cannabis production, while it falls to the provinces and territories regulate and license retail sales.
As per the amendment, cannabis retail sales will be permitted only in urban commercial districts, meaning only in county hamlets.
In an online survey conducted from April 5 to May 1, 52 per cent of respondents selected urban commercial out of five options when asked which land use area best fits the development of a cannabis retail store.
Furthermore, before deciding on an application for a cannabis retail sales or cannabis lounge development permit, the development authority must consult with adjacent landowners by mail or by advertising in the local newspaper. If the neighbouring landowners reply within 14 days, the development authority shall consider their comments and recommendations before issuing a development permit.
One County resident was present for the land use bylaw amendment public hearing and no written or verbal submissions were received.
The County cannot place a full ban on sales, as this would be in contravention of federal legislation.
To date, Camrose County has not received any applications for a development permit for a cannabis retail location.