As of Monday, the City of Calgary started going through cannabis store applications with a fine-toothed comb.
So far the city has received 261 applications from those interested in setting up shop once recreational marijuana is legalized in October.
The applications will be reviewed to make sure they are in compliance with separation distance requirements, for concentration of stores in any one neighbourhood, comments from citizens, and overall compatibility with the proposed community.
Cannabis stores have to be a certain distance away from schools, shelters and churches, as well as businesses such as liquor stores and payday loan shops.
They also have to be a distance away from other cannabis stores, though there is some discretion based on the population in the area, according to Brandy MacInnis, senior special projects officer at the city.
“For example, on 17th Avenue or some of the areas where there may be more population, we may see some discretion applied in allowing for a store within the 300-metre setback from another store.”
“Ultimately, we want to avoid an over-concentration of stores in any one neighbourhood.”
MacInnis said every application is reviewed based on merit.
“This is not a new process that’s been created for this use; it’s the standard business practice used to review all of our development permits.”
The city hopes to have made decisions on all 261 applications by Aug. 10 and those decisions will be based on the order the applications were received.
Once an application has been approved, there is a 21-day appeal period from when the decision is advertised.
If no appeals are filed, the location will then obtain building permits, followed by a business licence.
There is no cap on the number of permits that will be issued and MacInnis said the city is still receiving one or two applications every week.
“We fully expect to see more stores come in over the years, as with any other use.”‘
Successful businesses will not be able to open their doors until the federal government’s legalization date of Oct. 17.