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    Preparing for legal cannabis in Chestermere

    Chestermere city council received an update from administration on city staff’s work to prepare for the legalization of cannabis in Canada at the June 18 council meeting.

    Under council’s direction, staff are working on a two-stage approach for the regulation of legal cannabis in the city.

    The first stage will deal with the production and distribution of cannabis while the second stage will deal with consumption of cannabis and enforcement of the regulations in the city

    Planning & Development Services Manager Jeff Gibeau reported that staff have completed the majority of the research for the production and distribution stage and staff are working on the first draft of the policy to present to council.

    One area that staff are continuing to research at the request of council is the effect of the smell of cannabis in the production and distribution processes.

    To date their research suggests that the smell does not constitute a concern in this stage. the smell of cannabis as it is being produced and distributed has not been found to be a major concern in other jurisdictions outside Canada that have legal cannabis.

    Staff did report that the smell of cannabis will have more of an effect on the consumption and enforcement stage.

    In giving the update to council, Gibeau said that staff had been unable to bring the policy to council at that meeting in the form of an amendment to the Chestermere Land Use Bylaw as was initially targeted because of unforeseen staff absences.

    The new date for the amendment to be presented to council for first reading is the July 16 council meeting.

    After first reading is passed, a public hearing will be scheduled for the fall after residents are back from their summer holidays.

    After the city council meeting, the Federal Government announced on June 20 that the retail sale and recreational use of cannabis will become legal in Canada on Oct. 17, 2018.