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RFD- 3308 Bylaws   Item #   9. a.    
Regular Council Meeting Agenda
Meeting Date: 05/14/2018  
Title:    C-1027-17 - Second Reading - Land Use Bylaw Amendment - Cannabis Business Regulations - Levasseur
Department: Planning & Infrastructure  
Strategic Vision Element: This topic relates to all three of the City’s strategic vision elements contained in Council’s Strategic Plan Related Goal: n/a

Request for Decision Summary
The purpose of this Request for Decision is to seek Council's support for second reading of Bylaw C-1027-17, which would amend the Land Use Bylaw for the purpose of regulating cannabis related businesses. The bylaw would amend terminology for production facilities to reflect the change from medical marihuana production to licensed cannabis production facilities for recreational use. In addition, administration is proposing regulations to cannabis sales uses that would affect potential business locations and operations. 

Proposed Motion
That second reading be given to Bylaw C-1027-17- Land Use Bylaw Amendment - Regulation of Cannabis Related Businesses.
Bill 26: An Act to Control and Regulate Cannabis was passed by the Alberta Legislature in November 2017 and received royal assent in December 2017. The legislation provides for broad municipal powers for regulating cannabis sales, but lacks detail regarding minimum provincial requirements for setbacks from sensitive uses (schools, etc.). On February 16, 2018, the province released implementing regulations, which include details regarding minimum locational criteria for cannabis retail sales as well as operational requirements of individual businesses.

Per provincial regulations, cannabis sales will need to operate as a standalone business, meaning cannabis sales cannot be added to other unrelated businesses, including pharmacies or liquor stores. Cannabis sales will need to be the main focus of the business, with the ability to sell cannabis accessories (pipes, rolling papers, etc.) as a secondary portion of the business. In addition, cannabis retail must:
  • control inventory so that only employees can handle all products for sale (cannabis or paraphernalia);
  • not be visible from the outside (using window screening, etc.);
  • not have externally visible advertising of goods;
  • have secure storage areas;
  • have video surveillance with minimum retention periods;
  • have separate loading and docking areas from other businesses; and,
  • adhere to maximum business hours of 10 a.m. to 2 a.m.
From a locational regulatory perspective, the provincial minimum criteria is extremely lenient by providing only two separation distances and at a fraction of what are considered best land use practices in the United States. The two required separation distances are 100 m from school sites and 100 m from provincial health facilities. 

Bill 26, however, will give the municipality broad authority in regulating cannabis sales, including defining appropriate land use districts for the use and determining minimum separation distances to sensitive uses. The municipality also has the ability to regulate how cannabis sales uses operate, including regulating hours of operation, signage, etc. It should be noted that Bill 26 is not yet proclaimed, which is why Bylaw C-1027-17 will come into force upon proclamation of Bill 26. Until that time, the City does not officially have the powers outlined in the legislation and cannabis sales uses are not legal.

Bylaw C-1027-17 introduces new definitions and requirements for cannabis sales uses, including:
  • Establishing cannabis sales uses be allowed as discretionary uses in the City Centre and Vehicle Oriented Commercial Districts.
  • Limiting hours of operation from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.
  • Requiring specified setbacks to sensitive uses, such as school sites (300 m in PS District, 100 m for commercial sites), municipal playgrounds and outdoor playfields (100 m), child care facilities (100 m), provincial health facilities (100 m), libraries (300 m) and recreational facilities (300 m).
  • Requiring a 100 m setback to residential districts.
  • Establishing a minimum separation distance of 300 m between cannabis sales uses.
  • Establishing signage regulations.
  • Requiring visual interest be maintained for cannabis sales in the City Centre Commercial District.
  • Requiring public entrances and exits have direct access to the outdoors.
An attached table of regulations (Attachment 9) provides additional reasoning behind the administrative recommendations.

When considering separation of cannabis sales from sensitive uses, Council needs to take into account that separation distances are reciprocal. This means that if a cannabis sales use is the first one into an area, and then another use (like child care facilities for illustrative purposes) wants to start operating in that area, then the second use would need to remain the prescribed distance from the cannabis sales use. This is part of the reason that staff is proposing that cannabis sales be considered in the Vehicle Commercial district, as sensitive uses like child care facilities and schools are not permitted in this district. 

A series of map products have been produced to assist Council and the public with understanding the implications of setback regulations. The map products are attached as follows:
  • Map set #1  - Administrative Recommendation - This depicts the combination of buffers proposed in Bylaw C-1027-17;
  • Map set #2  - School Setback Options, showing 100 m, 200 m and 300 m from all school sites and joint use lands;
  • Map set #3  - Child Care Facility Setback Options, showing 100 m, 200 m and 300 m from all child care facilities;
  • Map set #4  - Playground and Active Play Area Mapping, showing 100 m, 200 m and 300 m from all playgrounds and outdoor recreation (playfields);
  • Map set #5 - Indoor Recreation Facility and Library Mapping, showing 100 m, 200 m and 300 m from indoor recreational facilities and the public library; and,
  • Map set #6 - Residential District Setbacks, showing 25 m, 50 m and 100 m setbacks from residential districts.
Public Website Survey
A public website survey was held from March 15 to April 1, and there were 1,472 respondents. 87% of the respondents were Spruce Grove residents. The generalized findings are:
  • 54% of respondents support allowing cannabis sales within Spruce Grove, with 10% neutral, and 36% opposing cannabis sales in the city;
  • Over half of the respondents support minimum distance regulations for cannabis sales to elementary, middle and high schools (78%), child care facilities (74%), parks and recreation facilities (61%) and post-secondary schools (55%);
  • 37% of respondents support separation distances between cannabis sales uses; and,
  • 56% of respondents support cannabis sales following the same operating hours as liquor stores, while 43% support shorter hours of operation.
In addition to questions regarding cannabis sales uses, as summarized above, the survey also touched on public opinions around consumption. Consumption of cannabis will be reviewed under separate bylaws at a later date. The final survey report can be found as Attachment 2 to this report.
The bylaw was referred  to the City Centre Business Association and the Chamber of Commerce. Advertising has occurred in two issues of the newspaper per the Municipal Government Act, as well as posted on the City's website. Interested parties will have the opportunity of providing feedback in writing or in person at the public hearing.

The City has also been maintaining a cannabis sales interest list, notifying stakeholders of milestones as they occur.
In addition to traditional communication means, the City has developed a webpage devoted to the cannabis regulations development process. Amendments adopted by Council will be sent to interested parties and placed on the City's cannabis website.

The Planning and Development Department will be responsible for implementing the bylaw once it is adopted.
Cannabis related businesses have the potential to negatively impact surrounding uses and the public. Conversely, cannabis related businesses have the potential to bring investment and jobs to the community. The proposed bylaw provides mitigating regulations to anticipated impacts, while trying to leave enough flexibility to allow for economic opportunities from the legalization of recreational cannabis.
Bylaw C-1027-17 - Regulation of Cannabis Related Businesses
Spruce Grove 2018 Cannabis Survey
Map set #1 - Administrative Recommendation
Map set #2 - School Setback Options
Map set #3 - Child Care Facility Setback Options
Map set #4 - Playground and Active Play Area Mapping
Map set #5 - Indoor Recreation Facility and Library Mapping
Map set #6 - Residential District Setbacks
Cannabis Sales Regulations and Reasonings

City Council and Committee of the Whole agendas and minutes are posted on the City of Spruce Grove website for information purposes only. These agendas may be changed at the discretion of Council by the addition or deletion of items. Anyone reviewing the draft agenda should do so on the understanding that it is subject to change by Council.

All attachments are in PDF format, and require the Adobe Acrobat Reader plug-in for viewing.

Audio from the most recent City Council and Committee of the Whole meetings are available via podcast on the City of Spruce Grove website.

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