N.B. city council not opposed to cannabis retail sales

By Angela Brown
January 23, 2018 - 12:00pm

North Battleford city council didn't raise any objections last night to the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority (SLGA) granting permits for future retail sales of cannabis in the municipality. when the issue came up at Monday's meeting.

The issue came up at Monday's regular council meeting.

"If the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority hears nothing from our municipality by Feb. 28, then they will proceed to allocate two retail permits to our city," said Mayor Ryan Bater following the meeting. 

"Nobody put forward a motion to prohibit retailing here, so I think the direction to administration is to proceed with the appropriate zoning and bylaw work for council's consideration," he added.

"There is still a lot of work to do on this file but today (Monday) was simply about introducing the retail [sale] of cannabis on the agenda of council and to see if there was an appetite to prohibit it - and we've heard nothing," said Bater.    

The mayor said as far as zoning in concerned, the city will likely be looking at a discretionary-use requirement for the retailing of cannabis, likely in the commercial zones within the city - downtown in the southeast quadrant, and on the main street arterial area, for example.

Council would need to give its approval for a specific location for a site.

If the city had wanted to prohibit it, they would need to provide that information in writing to SLGA by Feb. 28.

"The process in terms of how they select we understand is a lottery-based process," said the mayor. "But the actual process in applying for one of those permits... we haven’t been given as a municipality"

The municipality will not be involved in allocating permits; that is done through the SLGA.

The city will need to do some work amending its zoning bylaws accordingly.

In the report to council, the city's planning and development department recommended accepting the two retail outlet permits as a good opportunity for economic development.

Planner Anastasia Conly stated in her report it would not be in the best economic interest of the city to prohibit the establishment of cannabis retail stores. 

She indicated prohibiting the establishment of cannabis retail outlets within the city will not prevent the purchase and use of cannabis products in North Battleford. Rather, the only foreseeable impact will be "the leak of economic potential from our municipality to another." She also stated prohibiting legitimate retail sales would also indirectly lead to the illegitimate market of cannabis within the city.


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