News Local

City gets ready for legal pot

By Stephen Uhler, The Daily Observer

Marijuana (File photo)

Marijuana (File photo)

Anticipating the legal sale of marijuana, Pembroke now has definitions of “retail marijuana” and retailer under its zoning bylaw.

The definitions will make it easier for the city to control the sale and location of marijuana shops, if and when they become established within the municipality.

On Tuesday, city council approved the addition of the definitions “retail marijuana” and “marijuana retail sales establishment” to their bylaw. The definition of “retail marijuana” means all parts of the plant of the genus cannabis whether growing or not, the seeds thereof, the resin extracted from any part of the plant, and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture or preparation for the plant, its seeds or its resin, including marijuana concentrate that is cultivated, manufactured, distributed, or sold.

“Retail marijuana” does not include hemp, which means it is exempted from this zoning bylaw change.

“Marijuana Retail Sales Establishment” is defined as a building or part thereof in which the sale of retail marijuana is offered or kept for sale.

Colleen Sauriol, planning and building department manager, told the planning and development committee they received a request from the Pembroke Police Services Board to consider putting in place some sort of control over where such stores could be located.

She said the board is concerned about possible marijuana retail stores setting up within the city in inappropriate areas, such as near schools. The board requested council give consideration to providing controls over the retail sales of marijuana through the city’s zoning bylaw.

“The city wants some control through zoning to restrict where marijuana shops could be set up,” Sauriol said.

By amending the zoning bylaw, these controls could be put in place before such stores are set up in anticipation of legalization of marijuana. This would give the city say in where they would be permitted to locate, and give the public an opportunity to provide input as well through the zoning process.

Sauriol said these uses will not be permitted in any zone at this time since it is an illegal use until the federal government makes marijuana use legal. Once it does, changes will have to be made to the zoning bylaw to provide locations where this type of use would be permitted.

“It is anticipated Health Canada will provide strict rules and regulations regarding the sale of marijuana, once it becomes legal,” she said.

SUhler@postmedia.com