August 3, 2018 8:00 am

1st of 2 applications to rezone land for marijuana sales heading to Edmonton council

Sat, Jun 23 - Edmontonians now have a better idea of where they may be able to buy legal weed. The city has released a list of proposed applicants and locations. Julia Wong has more.

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Another step in the march to October 17 when cannabis sales are legal will come to Edmonton city council on Aug. 20.

Before individual stores are permitted, the land they’ll sit on will have to be rezoned.

READ MORE: Prospective pot retailer concerned with aspects of proposal to use lottery to decide who gets Edmonton shop licences

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On Thursday, a report to city council identified two locations councillors will have to consider to add cannabis retail sales as a permitted use.

Senior planner Andrew McLellan confirmed this is the first of what will be many to go before city council.

“It’s really up to the private land owners to submit the applications,” he said.

“Obviously, there’s been this initial flood and I imagine it’ll taper out after some time but it’ll probably be ongoing for quite a while.”

The report shows one location is in Summerside at 90 Street and 25 Avenue SW. The other is a larger plot of land north of Stony Plain Road, south of 106 Avenue, between 121 and 123 streets.

Restrictions on where retail locations can go have already been set, including away from where kids are expected to be, like parks and schools. There’s even the minimum distance between store locations.

READ MORE: Edmonton committee to debate permit, licensing fees for recreational pot shops

That’s why McLellan said the land has to be zoned first.

“For example, there might be a rezoning for a very large piece of land where, when you get to the permit level, cannabis retail sales might only be allowed in the northeast corner of that one piece of land that we’re zoning. The detail is figured out later.”

READ MORE: City releases list of applicants hoping to enter Edmonton retail cannabis market

In June, 242 potential retailers approached the city, signalling they were interested.

Now city council will in many cases have to approve the location they want to set up shop on. Some are headed for locations where the zoning already permits retail cannabis sales.

This first pair should identify to other potential retailers what they can expect based on council’s decision.

“It may open up more opportunities for permits to be applied for and then they’ll be dealt with by our development approvals group,” McLellan said.

More than a dozen other potential locations, based in 14 special area zones established by city council earlier this year, will be before the Sept. 5 public hearing.

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