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Bylaws related to marijuana

As early as next spring, there could be legislation in Canada that legalizes and regulates access to marijuana. This decision is being made on a national level, but we are thinking about how this legislation will affect us locally and how we can manage legalization in the best interests of Calgarians.

Through our Land Use Bylaw, we regulate businesses that provide medical marijuana counselling. There are restrictions on their location (must be 150 metres from a school yard boundary and 300 metres from each other), and all businesses require a development permit.
The federal legislation is looking at recreational marijuana use and production. In August, we shared our concerns and considerations about the impact of legalization on public health and safety, policing and social supports with the federal Task Force on Marijuana Legalization and Regulation.
Since then, we have brought together subject matter experts from departments across The City to ensure local considerations are taken into account by the federal government as the new legislation is being developed.
At the November 3, 2016 Intergovernmental Affairs Committee public meeting, the Committee approved five main areas that we want the federal government to consider:
  1. Engage municipalities. We want cities like Calgary to be included in the conversation as legislation is being drafted and regulations developed.
  2. Give authority to each order of government. Municipal, provincial and federal governments will all play a role in regulating marijuana. The information we have gathered so far supports national or provincial oversight on licensing for production and distribution with local authorities maintaining control over the growing and selling of marijuana as well as nuisance factors like second-hand smoke.
  3. Restrict the growing of marijuana in people’s homes. Our priority is neighbourhood safety and ensuring a high quality of life for all Calgarians. As such, we want to ensure consideration is given to important factors like ventilation standards and property values. 
  4. Share federal tax revenues. When the federal and provincial governments are determining who should share in the revenues, we want to ensure that The City of Calgary can share in these revenues to help offset the costs to municipalities of marijuana legalization and regulation.
  5. Give municipalities time to develop and implement local regulations. Once regulation is announced, we need time to understand the new rules, engage with citizens, and create and implement regulations that will work best for Calgary.   
These areas will guide our ongoing input to the task force and federal government. We will continue to keep you informed about our engagement efforts in the lead-up to the federal government’s decision.