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County consults on cannabis with open house

Rocky View County (RVC) staff answered questions and gathered feedback on upcoming cannabis regulations at a July 5 open house held at the municipal building in Calgary.
Cannabis Consultation
Rocky View County administration answered questions and gathered feedback from residents on the County’s approach to cannabis retail and land use at an open house July 5.

Rocky View County (RVC) staff answered questions and gathered feedback on upcoming cannabis regulations at a July 5 open house held at the municipal building in Calgary.

The consultation followed the federal legalization of cannabis and subsequent provincial legislation. According to Policy Planning Supervisor Amy Zaluski, RVC ultimately has control over the “where” related to cannabis sales, through zoning and land use. To that end, the open house was an opportunity for County administration to gather feedback from area residents and potential business owners about what regulations around the retail sale of cannabis should be included in RVC’s land use bylaw.

“These have happened at a higher level, so we have to have regulations for approving these facilities at the municipal level,” Zaluski said. “It’s the same as any other municipality in the area (that) has to have similar discussions and has to do similar things.”

According to Zaluski, approximately 12 people attended the open house. She said because the issue is relatively new in RVC, it was difficult to anticipate attendance.

“We were a bit surprised at the low attendance, given the nature of the issue, but it isn’t the only way for residents to have input,” Zaluski said.

At the open house, residents had an opportunity to speak with members of the County’s planning department. Boards were displayed around the room providing information on the province’s framework and legislation, the County’s role in the legalization of cannabis and timelines for the project. Residents could also affix sticky notes with written comments to feedback boards asking about public consumption and retail stores.

Zaluski said administration has not fully analyzed feedback from the open house, because the County is still accepting written feedback. Even so, some themes did emerge during the consultation.

“Some of the general discussion was around where should businesses go, what different types of cannabis-related businesses there could be and what kinds of regulations we should put into our land use bylaw, regarding that,” she said.

The County has posted a Recreational Cannabis Regulation Survey at rockyview.ca, which residents are encouraged to complete. Written comments can also be submitted directly to project manager Lindsey Ganczar at LGanczar@rockyview.ca. The deadline for both is July 30.

“We’d really like people to fill out the survey and provide us with more information because it is a new issue, an important issue, so we would like to have as much feedback from as many people as we can,” Zaluski said. “That always helps us to have a more well-rounded look at things.”

She added administration will also make its information boards from the open house available online for anyone that was unable to attend.

Once the submission deadline has passed, Zaluski said administration will compile and analyze the feedback and draft regulations to present to council at a public hearing, where the public will again have the opportunity to provide input. Council will then make its decision on the County’s cannabis regulations. Currently, she added, administration aims to bring proposed draft regulations to council Sept. 11.

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