What will happen in Lethbridge once recreational marijuana is legalized?
A packed room of residents met Monday evening in council chambers to ask experts exactly that.
“Is there going to be a legal limit like there is for alcohol?” asked Jared Laing “Because my understanding right now is zero tolerance. So if it’s a zero tolerance, I believe there should be a zero tolerance for alcohol as well.”
“I think a lot of the concerns seem to be nuisances with regards to smoking and plants and growing four plants in your house,” said Jeff Mooij. “I don’t think people really understand that growing four plants is no different than growing most plants in your house and it’s different than entire grow operations.”
Lawyer Kelsey Becker Brookes says there are a few things the city needs to consider before legalization comes into effect.
“[They] might need to consider changes to their land use bylaws,” Brookes said. “So if you need to create new use classes to deal with retail cannabis, it’s probably the most important thing. The area where people are most concerned is public consumption.”
The distribution and retail sale of weed was also discussed during the meeting.
“The location of retail cannabis is a big issue,” Brookes said. “But I think most people are pretty accepting of the fact that there is going to be retail cannabis stores, let’s just figure out where they work in our municipality.”
The Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission will be in charge of regulating all marijuana retailers in the province.
In Lethbridge, 14 applications to open cannabis stores have already been submitted to the AGLC.
“Anybody that’s interested in opening a cannabis location really has to think about working on two fronts, at the municipal level and the provincial level,” said AGLC’s senior manager of inspections, Graham Wadsworth. “The need to seek licencing approval from both of those entities.”
The next public meeting will be held June 11 to discuss land use development.
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