Public Open House Oct. 11 on Proposed Community Standards Bylaw and Public Consumption of Cannabis
To read the News Release, please click here.
Town Invites Public Review and Input on Suitable Locations for Cannabis Retail Sales
The Town has begun the second half of a two-part process to amend its Land Use Bylaw in preparation for the expected legalization of recreational cannabis across Canada later this year.
Town Council has given first reading to Bylaw No. 409-18, which proposes to amend the Town’s Land Use Bylaw to include Cannabis Retail Sales as a discretionary use in the Central Commercial (C1) and Highway Commercial (C2) districts in Ponoka.
The Bylaw proposes a minimum separation distance of 100 metres between cannabis retail locations and sensitive uses such as schools and provincial health care facilities in Ponoka. The 100-metre separation distance is the same minimum requirement established under provincial regulations for cannabis retail licensing through the Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Commission (AGLC). Municipalities can implement shorter or longer separation distances from sensitive-use areas than 100 metres if they choose.
The proposed Bylaw also includes specific-use regulations for Cannabis Retail Sales such as limiting hours of operation between 10 a.m. and 2 a.m., and prohibiting drive-through windows to limit accessibility and exposure of the products.
Public Review and Input Invited
To view the proposed Bylaw and supporting documents, please click here. A copy of the proposed Bylaw and supporting documents are also available for public review at the Town Office (C, 4900-54 Street) from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
The supporting documents accompanying the Bylaw include a map identifying the 100-metre separation distances proposed in the new Bylaw. A second map that reflects recommendations from Alberta Health Services for increased separation distances from sensitive uses is also included in the package of supporting documents for comparison purposes and public review.
Public Hearing October 9
A public hearing on the proposed bylaw will be held Tuesday, October 9, 2018, at 7 p.m. at the Kinsmen Community Centre in Ponoka at 5009-46 Ave. Members of the public wishing to comment on the proposed Bylaw are welcome to speak at the public hearing.
Written comments on the proposed Bylaw may be submitted by 4 p.m. on October 3, 2018, to: Parkland Community Planning Services, ATTN: Natasha Wright, Planner, Unit B, 4730 Ross Street, Red Deer, AB, T4N 1X2, or by email to email@example.com
Ponoka Town Council will consider all submissions and public comment made at the Public Hearing prior to considering second reading of the proposed Bylaw.
Part One – Definitions
Phase one of the process to amend the Town’s Land Use Bylaw in preparation for the legalization of recreational cannabis was completed in May 2018. At that time, Ponoka Town Council granted third reading to Bylaw 399-18 which introduced new definitions for cannabis-related uses into the Town’s Land Use Bylaw. Adding these new definitions enables the Town to regulate cannabis-related sales and production within its land use districts. Bylaw 399-18 also introduced ‘Medical Cannabis Production Facility’ as a permitted use in the Town’s Industrial Land Use Districts (M1 and M2). Production of medical cannabis was legalized in Canada in 2014.
Recreational Cannabis-Related Uses Remain Illegal
The Town cannot currently receive or approve development permits for any recreational cannabis-related uses such as retail sales in Ponoka until recreational cannabis becomes legalized by the federal government. It currently remains illegal to sell, consume or produce cannabis for non-medical purposes.
If federal legalization of cannabis occurs as anticipated, and once the Town of Ponoka Land Use Bylaw is amended by Town Council to identify and regulate suitable locations for cannabis-related uses, cannabis may then be sold in specialty cannabis-only retail stores in Ponoka that receive approval and meet the regulations outlined under the Town’s amended Land Use Bylaw, as well as provincial and federal regulations.
Proposed Bylaw and Supporting Documents:
- Proposed Bylaw 409-18 to amend the Town of Ponoka Land Use Bylaw to include Cannabis Retail Sales as a discretionary use.
- Map A– Showing proposed 100-metre separation distances in Bylaw 409-18 (as per minimum AGLC Regulations)
- Map B – Showing Alberta Health Services Recommendations for increased separation distances (for comparison purposes and public review)
Public Input Invited on Proposed Community Standards Bylaw and Public Consumption of Cannabis in Ponoka
Town Council has approved first reading of a new Community Standards Bylaw and would like to hear public input on the Bylaw before considering second and third reading. You are invited to view the proposed Bylaw and fill out a Citizen Input Survey below to have your say.
The proposed new Bylaw combines key components of three existing Town of Ponoka Bylaws (Noise, Unsightly Premises, and Curfew) into one new Bylaw. The proposed Bylaw addresses issues such as:
- Public behaviour, including bullying, littering, fighting and graffiti
- Property maintenance, including sidewalks, boulevards and unoccupied buildings
- Noise control
Public Consumption of Cannabis
The Community Standards Bylaw is also a tool that municipalities can use to regulate nuisance issues related to the public consumption of cannabis - which is why public input on that question is being invited at the same time as public consultation on the proposed Community Standards Bylaw occurs.
With recreational cannabis now legalized in Canada, Town Council has passed an interim Bylaw that prohibits smoking and vaping of recreational cannabis in all public places in Ponoka. The Bylaw is an interim measure until Town Council completes public consultation on the question of public consumption of cannabis.
What Do You Think?
Should public consumption of cannabis be prohibited in Ponoka, or should the Town follow the minimum standards set by the provincial government which permits public consumption of cannabis in some public places where smoking tobacco is allowed? Or is some other level of regulation needed?
Once public consultation is completed, Town Council will make a final decision on how to regulate public consumption of cannabis over the long term in Ponoka. Council could choose to the make the interim Bylaw permanent (with possible changes); it could introduce new cannabis regulations into the Town's Community Standards Bylaw, or it could choose to follow provincial cannabis regulations that allow people to smoke or vape cannabis in some public places where smoking tobacco is allowed.
To view the provincial regulations and legislation already in place to regulate public consumption of cannabis, please click on the following link: https://www.alberta.ca/cannabis-framework.aspx#p6241s4
To view the proposed Community Standards Bylaw No. 384-17, please click here.
CITZEN INPUT SURVEY - To fill out a Citizen Input Survey on the proposed Community Standards Bylaw and on the question of public consumption of cannabis in Ponoka, please click here.
Thank you for your input!