County of Stettler prepared for cannabis legalization

The County of Stettler No. 6 is prepared for the legalization of cannabis that took place on Wed. Oct. 17, 2018.

On Oct. 10, Council passed Bylaw 1598-18 – Cannabis Consumption Bylaw which addresses the consumption of cannabis in the County of Stettler.

It states that cannabis may only be consumed in private residences or on private property.

Residents will not be allowed to smoke or vape cannabis on any public property within the County of Stettler, including all of the hamlets.

Penalties associated with offences to this bylaw are $250 for a first offence; $500 for a second offence within one year of the first; and $750 for a third and any subsequent offence within a year of a prior offence.

The County of Stettler’s Land Use Bylaw was also amended to provide for Cannabis Retail Sales.

Municipalities cannot prohibit cannabis production and sales, however, Council was able to customize the locations and setback requirements of these facilities to suit the community.

A survey conducted by the County was responded to by over 600 participants who showed the following results relative to the location of cannabis stores:

Seventy-eight per cent were either neutral or very concerned about the separation distance of cannabis stores to places where youth gather.

Sixty-nine per cent wanted cannabis stores separated from places where youth gather by 200 metres or more.

Forty-four per cent thought that hamlet commercial areas are an appropriate cannabis store location.

Fifty-eight per cent were either neutral or not concerned at all about the location of cannabis production facilities.

Taking the survey results into consideration, and the fact that the federal and provincial regulations for security and other measures required of the premises from where a person applies for a license to sell cannabis are of such a nature that private dwellings are likely not suitable, the proposed bylaw amendment provides for Cannabis Retail Sales as a discretionary use only from commercial and industrial land use districts throughout the county including hamlets of Botha, Byemoor, Erskine, Endiang, Red Willow, Nevis and the communities along the south shore of Buffalo Lake outside of the Summer Villages.

The Town of Stettler, the Villages of Big Valley, Donalda and the Summer Villages of Rochon Sands and White Sands will have their own Bylaws to address cannabis.

For more information on the Cannabis Consumption Bylaw please contact Shawna Benson, Legislative Services Advisor at 403-742-4441 or sbenson@stettlercounty.ca.

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