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Report pegs cannabis costs to Edmonton taxpayers at as much as $6M

A jarful of marijuana being sold on Robson Street on Jan. 12, 2018.
A jarful of marijuana being sold on Robson Street on Jan. 12, 2018. Global News

City staff are putting the finishing touches on several bylaw changes that are needed for the day when cannabis sales are made legal by the federal government. Proposed bylaw changes will be before city councillors Wednesday afternoon at the Community and Public Services Committee.

It’s expected several questions will be asked about the cost to taxpayers.

It could be as high as $6 million, according to senior planner Colton Kirsop.

“That cost actually doesn’t include police costs,” he said in an interview.

A long list of bylaws will need changing.

“The zoning bylaw will set out a framework where cannabis stores can be located,” Kirsop said.

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“The province has set that minimum separation from schools and hospitals as 100 metres. There’s a variation between what we do with alcohol currently and that minimum. Our numbers are 150 metres from schools and parks so they’re generally aligned.”

Last week, the Alberta government capped the initial number of stores at 250 across the province.

READ MORE: Doobie dos and dont’s: Alberta outlines rules for retail marijuana sales

Kirsop also said councillors will be updated on how the city should address the consumption of cannabis in public.

“We’re surveying citizens right now to get their thoughts on smoking cannabis in public.”

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This survey is a followup to a similar survey from last year that drew 4,000 responses.

“We’re asking citizens what their thoughts are about smoking cannabis on a public sidewalk, near entrances or doorways or at festivals. We’d like to understand if it needs to be regulated in a similar manner to cigarettes which we currently don’t allow the smoking of cigarettes at playgrounds, sports fields or Churchill Square for example.”

Two other bylaws that need changing are the business licensing bylaw to add new categories, and the waste management bylaw needs some changes to address the safe disposal of cannabis products.

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Cannabis Legalization – City Bylaw Regulation by Anonymous TdomnV9OD4 on Scribd

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