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  • Council votes against having to license residential cannabis cultivation sites

    Chestermere City Council defeated the Personal Cultivation of Cannabis Bylaw after months of deliberation on Feb. 19.

    “During the second round of public engagement, we received around 30 comments, the views generally did not support the bylaw,” said Municipal Planner of Development and Infrastructure Services Jeff Brunen.

    He added, “Comments included a tax grab, invasion of privacy outside of Chestermere’s jurisdiction or against homeowners’ rights.”

    The Personal Cultivation of Cannabis Bylaw would have required residents to obtain a municipal permit.

    The yearly license of $35 was designed to be a fair approach to regulate personal cannabis cultivation and educate safe and healthy growing not only for minors but for homes, Brunen said.

    Councillor Ritesh Narayan said choosing to not support the proposed bylaw had been a difficult decision.

    “I will not be supporting this bylaw. We’re supposed to a make a decision based on the information presented, doing our own research, and hearing and listening to the residents.

    “I believe that the residents of Chestermere have spoken time and time again and they have no appetite for this bylaw. One through the initial survey, and again through the re-engagement,” Narayan said.

    He added, from the time the Personal Cultivation of Cannabis Bylaw was proposed in October of last year he was not convinced through critical evidence that it was a good bylaw.

    “I personally have done my own research, and I have personally found nothing that would support this recommendation,” he said.

    Councillor Mel Foat added he was against the bylaw from the very beginning.

    “We went and did a survey, people said no, and then we tried to create a bylaw anyway,” Foat said.

    “I think that was a terrific waste of money and time,” he added.

    “I disagree that anybody was strongly against this from the beginning,” said Councillor Yvette Wagner.

    The bylaw was initiated as a way to educate residents who wanted to grow their own cannabis plants at home.

    “I know we’ve received some e-mails from some residents, the voices that I’m hearing are the people who don’t want to see this in place.

    “That does not to me represent the voice of Chestermere. It represents a small group,” Wagner added.

    The Personal Cultivation of Cannabis Bylaw was not intended to be a tax grab, Councillor Cathy Burness added, it was intended to protect residents.

    The Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Bernie Morton said the decision to draft the Personal Cultivation of Cannabis Bylaw was a direction given by council.

    “People think are you intruding on our lives? In essence, no,” Morton said.

    He added, RCMP are not necessarily worried if residents are growing up to four cannabis plants in their homes, they are worried about larger grow-ops inside the homes.

    “At least, we would have a record of those particular homes.

    “This is really our best kick at the can, a brand-new piece of legislation, never before tried,” Morton said.