As the nation moves towards the legalization of cannabis, Rocky View County (RVC) will determine municipal regulations around the retail of cannabis. To that end, the County will hold a public consultation July 5 to hear from residents. RVC planning supervisor Matthew Wilson said the regulation of recreational cannabis is a responsibility shared by all levels of government. “For all that to happen, all three levels of government need to be working together,” he said. At the federal level, the Cannabis Act received Senate approval June 19, with the act coming into effect Oct. 17. Provincially, An Act to Control And Regulate Cannabis was passed by the Alberta Legislature Nov. 30, 2017 and is awaiting proclamation. While the federal government regulates cannabis production and sale of medical cannabis, and the province is in charge of aspects of non-medical cannabis including licensing, minimum age, public consumption and enforcement, RVC will deal primarily with land use, zoning and retail sale. The County may also expand on the province’s public consumption regulations. “We can’t do anything the government of Canada won’t allow us to do, and we can’t do anything the province of Alberta doesn’t allow us to do, as well,” Wilson said. “At this stage, the province still hasn’t finalized their policies.” As the County decides what regulations the municipality will put into effect, a public hearing from 6 to 8 p.m. at the RVC building in Calgary will allow residents to provide input. “If they have interest in the effect of some of the provincial and federal regulations, hopefully we’ll be able to give them some information about that which will be useful to them,” Wilson said. “But, obviously, we have no ability to have any significant influence on the upper levels of government,” Wilson said. The open house will include, Wilson said, a survey with questions on where retail stores should be located, what setbacks to put in effect, hours of operation and what public consumption should look like in RVC. Individuals will also have an opportunity to identify key concerns and areas of interest with regards to cannabis. Residents can also submit written comments to the County until July 30, by emailing Lindsey Ganczar at [email protected] Once the County gathers comments, administration will review and consider the information and prepare bylaw amendments to take before council sometime in September. A public hearing will be advertised and held, at which point council will consider the bylaw. With the public consultation still upcoming, Wilson said it is difficult to gauge resident attitudes towards cannabis legalization. Anecdotally, he said the legalization of cannabis has not been as contentious as some other issues the County has dealt with, based on the number of phone calls and inquiries he’s received on the proposal. “From my perspective, I would say that it’s not been the most controversial item that has been dealt with by RVC,” he said. “Partly, I think that’s perhaps to do with the fact that it comes on the back of a lengthy federal process followed by a provincial process. If RVC was introducing this concept, I think it would be a different story, but because we are responding to federal and provincial politics and policies, it perhaps is less controversial.” Wilson said the last time RVC residents had an opportunity to voice their opinions about cannabis was in 2013, when the County made amendments to the land use bylaw for licensed medical marijuana facilities. An open house was held at that time, and Wilson said opinions were diverse, ranging from interest in pursuing a facility to opposition on a philosophical level. For now, the County has not experienced a big community outcry, but Wilson said that could always change once consultations begin.