June 12, 2018 5:01 pm
Updated: June 12, 2018 6:01 pm

City of Lethbridge postpones vote for land-use bylaws on pot shops

WATCH ABOVE: A public meeting went well into Monday evening, to discuss the city's land use bylaws as they relate to recreational marijuana retail stores. The City of Lethbridge is looking to amend current bylaws to include weed shops and discuss where stores should and shouldn't be allowed to set up. Malika Karim reports.

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Lethbridge City Council hosted a public hearing on Monday night to discuss current land-use bylaws and what would need to be amended to include recreational marijuana retail stores.

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“Provincial regulations require a minimum of 100 metres of [distance between] a school reserve, a school or hospital to the wall of a proposed cannabis store,” said Jeff Greene, the City of Lehthbridge’s director of planning and development. “So what we want to do is mirror that requirement in the land-use bylaw and ensure that we have those regulations covered off locally.”

READ MORE: Calgary city council decides where future cannabis shops can set up

But some people disagree with the minimum separation distance of 100 metres outlined by the province’s list of establishments included in their buffer zones.

“If it’s been illegal for 100 years and now it’s legal, shouldn’t we have some kind of restrictions?” asked Rabbi Sidney Speakman.

Speakman voiced his concerns about religious establishments being excluded from the province’s list of places where there must be a minimum distance from a pot shop. He urged that religious establishments are also schools, with children frequently visiting there.

“To exclude them and replace them just with public schools, public schools are open, not 12 months of the year, where the religious facilities are,” Speakman said. “And you have a continuous flow of children and youth to the religious facilities.”

Alberta Health Services proposed expanding the minimum separation distances between cannabis stores and anywhere a child-care facility is located from 100 to 300 metres.

“We’re also making recommendations as far as the concentration of retail stores between distances between them and alcohol and tobacco stores,” said Dr. Lizette Elumir, Alberta Health Services’ (AHS) medical officer of health for the South Zone.

But Greene disagreed.

“I think AHS may have been looking at this as a global recommendation. And that might work well in Calgary, but given the geographic scale of Lethbridge, it wouldn’t work here.”

The city has postponed a vote on land-use bylaw changes for retail cannabis stores until the next council meeting on June 25.

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