Barely four months after recreational cannabis was legalized in Canada, the city of Edmonton has made a proposal to include a “notwithstanding clause” in the law that stipulates the distance between cannabis retail shops and other public facilities, such as libraries and schools.
The current separation distances stipulated in the city’s bylaws state that there should be at least 200 meters between cannabis retail stores and schools or libraries. The law also stipulates that there should be at least 100 meters between a cannabis retail shop and provincial healthcare sites, parks and other public recreation facilities.
While the approach included in the existing laws is important in keeping minors from accessing cannabis, it is woefully inadequate when one considers large shopping malls and undeveloped land that hasn’t been subdivided as yet.
For example, the existing laws would prevent a cannabis retail facility from being opened in a large mall if that mall was close to a library. The exception clause being advocated for could address such unique situations.
There is no intention to change the rule stating that the distance between one cannabis retail shop and the next one should be at least 200 meters, but the “notwithstanding clause” will clarify how that separation distance is arrived at for different situations.
Such calls for amendments are to be expected when something new like recreational cannabis is first legalized. It is not possible for the framers of the original law to anticipate every possible situation, so the proposed amendments provide an avenue to iron out any kinks that may have been overlooked earlier.
As these calls for city bylaw amendments make their way through the system, the shortages of cannabis throughout the country are still ongoing. However, there is hope that the supply shortages will diminish over the coming months as the different licensed producers begin harvesting from the additional cultivation facilities that they rushed to commission as soon as retailers run out of cannabis a day after recreational cannabis was legalized.
In the meantime, the federal government is beginning to consider draft proposals for the regulation of cannabis edibles in the country. This segment of the industry was left out and there was a promise that an appropriate regulatory framework would be in place one year after recreational cannabis hit the shelves.
TransCanna Holdings Inc. (CSE: TCAN), VIVO Cannabis Inc. (TSX.V: VIVO) (OTCQX: VVCIF) and the entire cannabis industry look forward to the outcome of the amendments proposed in Edmonton since those changes may make it easier for residents to have a retail facility close by.
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