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Cannabis legalization

The Federal Government has announced that legalization of recreational cannabis takes place on October 17, 2018. Cannabis refers to products made from the leaves and flowers of the cannabis plant. You may have also heard it called marijuana or pot.

Please note that only fresh and dried cannabis and cannabis oil is being legalized at this time. Edible cannabis products have not legalized by the Federal Government.

Current status:

Our approach to legalization is aligned with federal and provincial laws and regulations. Bill C-45 (Cannabis Act), the Federal Government’s legislation that legalizes and regulates recreational cannabis has been passed into law and takes full effect on October 17, 2018.

Our approach is based on best practice research, collaboration with other municipalities in Alberta and Canada, meetings and dialogue with various stakeholders and information gathered from residents from an online survey and at the 13 public engagement sessions held across the region from Feb. 20 to May 23, 2018.

At a municipal level, we have made changes to the Land Use Bylaw and License Bylaw and have approved a new Smoking and Vaping Bylaw. These bylaws were all approved by Council meeting on July 9, 2018.

Additional refinements to the Land Use Bylaw and Smoking and Vaping Bylaw are being considered at Council on Oct. 23, 2018. What is being proposed has no substantive impact on what was passed by Council on July 9, 2018.

Most notably, recreational cannabis consumption will not be allowed in public, much like with how alcohol consumption is treated. There have been no changes to the rules surrounding tobacco consumption as a result of these bylaws.

The main components of the municipal cannabis-related bylaws, rules and regulations:

  • Public consumption of cannabis is not allowed in Wood Buffalo (much like how public alcohol consumption is regulated)
  • Potential cannabis retail stores must be at least 150 metres from schools, hospitals, drug & alcohol rehabilitation centres and child care facilities in the urban service area (100 metres in the rural service area)
  • Potential cannabis production and distribution facilities must be at least 300 metres from schools, hospitals, drug and rehabilitation centres, child care facilities and residential areas
  • Four cannabis plants per household are permitted in alignment with federal regulations, but they must be located indoors or in a fenced backyard
  • Property owners and property ownership associations (such as a condominium association) may choose to limit or prohibit cannabis consumption as per its bylaws and/or lease and rental agreements.

We are accepting and approving development permit applications for cannabis retail stores and/or cannabis production and distribution facilities. Should all conditions be met and approved, business licenses may be granted to prospective business owners/operators. No sale of recreational cannabis will be permitted until October 17, 2018, when recreational cannabis is legalized in Canada.

For more information, please take a look at one of the tabs on the left hand side of this page. You can also contact PULSE at 780.743.7000 or www.rmwb.ca/pulse.

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