Council hears Legalizing Cannabis survey results and proposed framework

03 Jul 2018

The results of the City’s Legalizing Cannabis survey results and a draft framework of the regulations were presented to Council as part of the Committee of the Whole meeting on July 3. Council received the results of the survey into the record and endorsed the proposed framework to allow the next phase of consultation to proceed.

The survey was completed by 1,151 participants. One of the key findings of the survey is that 78% of citizens support allowing and regulating legitimate cannabis businesses. Some of the other key findings include:

  • Participants support allowing retail sales downtown and in established commercial areas but not along the city’s lakeshores or in neighborhood corner stores
  • Participants support capping the number of stores
  • Participants strongly support requiring a minimum distance from schools
  • Participants would like to see the hours of operation of stores restricted
  • Participants would like to see use limited to private property

Based on these results, staff drafted a proposed framework for regulating retails and public use. Some of the key features of the proposed framework include:

  • Retail stores would be added as permitted uses in established commercial areas (excluding the lakeshore and neighborhood commercial). As a permitted use, rezoning applications would not be required for request that meet regulations.
  • Exclusion Zones (300 m) would be created around schools, select commercial areas (100 to 300 blocks of downtown and Front Street). Exclusion Zones would also be created between stores (300 m for those stores located downtown and 750 m for all other locations). The establishment of Exclusion Zones would essentially cap the number of stores to seven.
  • The operations of stores would resemble the rules for liquor stores. Stores would be allowed to operate during similar hours (9 am to 8 pm seven days a week) and the sale of accessory items would not be allowed to exceed 20%. Security measures including video surveillance must be in place and operation at all times.

Areas that require further investigation are the process and requirements for a new business. Some of the features of the process currently being considered include requirements for a business plan, security plan, and elevations of the store frontage.

The next phase of engagement will be completed over the next few months with the goal of taking a final recommendation to Council in advance of the October 17 date put forward by the federal government for legalization. Staff will be meeting with key stakeholder groups and prospective retailers as part of this next phase to gather feedback on the proposed framework. An open house for the community will also be hosted later this summer. The results of the survey and the draft framework are available on in the Council Report for review.

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