The decision to legalize cannabis came in April 2017 with the federal government introducing a bill to legalize non-medical (recreational) cannabis. The federal bill outlines a framework for regulating cannabis production, and sets standards for health and safety, establishes criminal prohibitions, and clarifies what aspects of the regulations are the responsibility of provincial governments. In February 2018, the provincial government released legislation and regulations about cannabis legalization.
The Government of Alberta has since introduced their own bill (Bill 26) to further control and regulate cannabis based on the Federal Government's framework. Bill 26 identifies the roles and responsibilities of municipalities in the legalization of cannabis.
Jurisdictional Responsibilities and Government Roles for Cannabis (pdf)
Table Source: https://www.alberta.ca/cannabis-legalization-in-canada.aspx
On September 4, 2018, City Council approved an updated Smoke Free Bylaw that prohibits consuming cannabis in public, which includes smoking and vaping cannabis. Read the news release for more details: Updated Smoke Free Bylaw prohibits consuming cannabis in public.
A Public Hearing was held on April 16, 2018.
- Bylaw 3357/L-2018 - an amendment to the Land Use Bylaw to add definitions related to Cannabis Retail Sales and exclude the use in all Districts
- Bylaw 3357/P-2018 - an amendment to the Land Use Bylaw to add the Discretionary Use of Cannabis Retails Sales to C1 and C4 Districts, the application requirements and regulations for Cannabis Retail Sales.
What did we do to prepare for the legalization of cannabis?
The federal and provincial governments are responsible for overseeing the new system for cannabis. The City of Red Deer recently updated our bylaws, policies and processes in preparation for the legalization of cannabis with a focus on the following areas:
- Land use regulations and business licence processes for cannabis stores
- Setting and enforcing rules for consuming cannabis in public
- Setting workplace policies to address the safety of City employees and citizens
- Determining where cannabis stores can be located and rules for store operations
- Developing a public education and awareness campaign
The provincial and federal governments also play a role in many of these areas.
With this in mind, there are a number of bylaws that may need to be amended for the legalization of non-medical cannabis, including:
- Smoke Free Bylaw 3345/2005 (pdf) (already amended and adopted)
- Land Use Bylaw
- Business Licence Bylaw 3609/2018 (pdf) (already amended and adopted)
- Parks and Public Facilities Bylaw 3255/2000 (pdf)
- Community Standards Bylaw 3383/2007 (pdf)
- Special Events Permit Bylaw 3572/2016 (pdf)
Amendments to these bylaws require City Council approval.
There is a lot of misleading information floating around about cannabis and legalization. The links below will take you to webpages from reputable sources.
- Government of Canada: Legalization and regulation of cannabis
- Government of Alberta: Alberta cannabis framework and legislation
- Government of Canada: Cannabis in Canada - Get the facts
- Alberta Health Services: Cannabis
- Government of Alberta: Cannabis legalization in Alberta
- Alberta Gaming & Liquor Commission: Cannabis
- Government of Canada: Cannabis for medical purposes
- Government of Canada: Cannabis health effects