Storefront Cannabis Retail Coming to Edmonton?

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Edmonton City Council voted 10 – 0 (with three Councillors absent) to amend an existing zoning bylaw to make provision for future storefront cannabis retail establishments, as well for cannabis lounges within the City of Edmonton.

The bylaw, as amended, now includes the following under the heading “Commercial Uses”

Cannabis Production and Distribution ​means development used principally
for one or more of the following activities as it relates to Cannabis:
a. the production, cultivation, and growth of Cannabis;
b. the processing of raw materials;
c. the making, testing, manufacturing, assembling or in any way altering the
chemical or physical properties of semi-finished or finished goods and
products;
d. the storage or transshipping of materials, goods and products; or
e. the distribution and sale of materials, goods and products to Cannabis
Retail Sales stores or to individual customers.

and

Cannabis Retail Sales ​means development used for the retail sale of Cannabis that is authorized by provincial or federal legislation. This Use does not include Cannabis Production and Distribution.

and

Cannabis Lounges ​means development where the primary purpose of the
facility is the sale of Cannabis to the public, for the consumption within the
premises that is authorized by provincial or federal legislation. This Use does not include Cannabis Production and Distribution.

The inclusion of these classes of uses puts in place the broad framework for the City to move forward with the allowance and licensing  of storefront cannabis retail and cannabis lounges within the City of Edmonton should the province of Alberta so allow.

There are some other modifications to the bylaw which provides some interesting insight as to how these businesses may be permitted to operate on a practical level.

“Cannabis Lounges” are explicitly excluded from the definition of “Bars and Neighbourhood Pubs”,  “Nightclubs” as well as “Private Clubs”.

“Cannabis Retail Sales” is expressly excluded from the definition of “Convenience Retail Stores”, “General Retail Stores” and “Greenhouses, Plant Nurseries and Garden Centres”.

The definition of “Health Services” has been expanded to include “medical Cannabis clinics and counseling services.”

The City has also opened the door for outdoor cultivation, with a number of classes such as urban indoor farms, rural farms, recreational acreage farms and urban outdoor farms being prohibited from being used for cannabis cultivation “unless licensed and operating pursuant to federal legislation.”

The City of Edmonton is the first municipality outside of British Columbia to take steps to allow for the provision of storefront cannabis retail and cannabis lounges.  We expect to see a significant increase in municipal developments as we move into the fall.

Check back here for future developments across the country as they happen.

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