Across Alberta and Canada, municipalities are discussing how to manage the upcoming legalization of the recreational-use cannabis market.
I had to do some research on this one!
To start, I visited a health clinic in St. Albert, Starbuds, that specializes in medical cannabis. I wanted to find out more about the business, associated bylaws, and their thoughts on how this type business should be regulated going forward; They feel strongly about safety, security, restrictions on minors, and consideration for neighbouring businesses.
An older adult, a patient who came through while I was speaking with the manager, said the restrictions on the delivery devices and other tools used to measure and use her medication are frustrating. She’d never used cannabis before, so she said it was hard having to go to different stores to get reliable information on different products.
I also spoke with Bylaw to find out about existing regulations (https://stalbert.ca/uploads/legislative/BusLic_Bylaw_43-2000_Consolidated_by_BL22-2017-_June_26,_2017.pdf - look for "restricted products") and more information about what the city is doing to prepare for changes in legislation.
Bylaw was helpful with explaining the current laws, the history in St Albert, and the options for going forward now that medical cannabis use is allowed. They were also able to tell me about the two stores already in operation that sell support paraphenalia - I haven't talked to those owners.
I also watched Mayor Holmes from Morinville testify this week to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health regarding Bill C45 (cannabis legislation) on behalf of the AUMA. I’m glad that Albertan municipalities will be as ready as possible to advise councils, and to engage residents and businesses when provincial direction is made public in late September or early October. (https://www.alberta.ca/cannabis-legalization.aspx)
With the research being done by Administration now, along with the discussions with other municipalities (https://auma.ca/news/auma-and-fcm-present-cannabis-legislation-standing-committee-health) and with provincial legislation, we'll be able to make educated decisions about the regulations surrounding this type of business. I also look forward to Administration's recommendations about personal cultivation in residential areas; Council will have the tools to make strong governance decisions based on their research and public engagement.