Despite marijuana being legal, there’s still one last issue the municipality wants more discussions around.
Wood Buffalo council met on Tuesday where they approved amending its Land, and Smoking and Vaping bylaws to have their new rules around cannabis included.
During a public hearing, they heard from multiple presenters who had concerns over the 150 metres distance a retail store has to be from schools and health centres in Fort McMurray.
Paul Hartigan tells Mix News this shrinks an already small window of opportunity for potential shops.
“It’s basically eliminated the lower townsite from the retail of cannabis – this is not big businesses we’re talking about, they’re small businesses.”
So far, three retail stores have been approved by the municipality while three others have been denied. Five other applications are currently being processed.
Councillor Krista Balsom brought forward a new motion to have administration look into amending the distance to 100 metres. This would match the limit already in place for the rural hamlets.
The motion also includes measuring from door-to-door instead of property lines.
Balsom says this motion is about continuing the discussion to find a happy medium.
“I wanted to give the opportunity for people to speak on both sides – we heard this loud and clear (on Tuesday) and we also heard loud and clear in our public engagement that there was some concern.”
Around 79 per cent of people who took an online survey and spoke at public engagements said they wanted to see the province’s chosen distance, 100 metres, be extended.
Council will discuss this at their next scheduled meeting.