MELFORT — Melfort has decided its cannabis stores need to be at least 150 metres away from schools, playgrounds and licensed daycares.
All of council voted in favour of the new regulation at a special meeting Aug. 23.
“This is lawfully permitted by the federal government and we can oppose it and dislike it all we want; it’s going to happen,” said Coun. Glenn George. “I think what we’ve done here is make it as acceptable as we can make it under the circumstances.”
Rick Lang, Melfort’s mayor, agreed to the 150 metre buffer zone. Tisdale also has a 150 metre zone, while Nipawin has 50 metres.
“Is 150 metres reasonable? Absolutely,” he said. “The reality is it’s going to be legal and so does council have the right to stand in the way of a legal enterprise operating?”
The meeting also served as a public hearing where citizens could express concerns. None were presented to council.
“Obviously there’s not excessive concern on the part of the citizens – and that is good – but our job, as a municipality, will be to make sure that we interact with the RCMP in a reasonable manner to make sure it’s policed as well as it can be,” Lang said.
Coun. Tim Hoenmans asked if there was discussion about applying a special business licence fee for the cannabis store, as some communities outside the Northeast are choosing to do. He was told there was one, but it was decided to charge the same licence fee as any other business.
“If it’s a legal enterprise, why would you single out a particular legal enterprise and say we’re really going to sock it to them as far as a business licence goes?” Lang said. “If that’s the case, why aren’t we socking it to anybody that sells alcohol or anybody that sells cigarettes?”
If council did want to add a fee in the future, it would be possible for them to do so.