By Collin Gallant on September 26, 2018.
Four more cannabis stores could be approved today by the Medicine Hat planning commission, including a proposal to place an outlet beside the recently opened AHS lab collection site in the city’s south.
In August, council approved a zoning map of where marijuana could be sold after its legalization date next month, which added to provincial minimum distance requirements from hospitals and schools.
The bay in the former sporting goods store shares a wall with the diagnostic lab, but that facility, say city planners, isn’t included in a list of sensitive health care uses that require either a 25- or 100-metre setback.
“I can see the reason for the confusion,” said Jim Genge of the city’s planning department. “But the diagnostic facility doesn’t fall under the definition in the zoning bylaw.”
The province requires stores that sell cannabis be located no closer than 100 metres from hospitals, schools or land set aside for either.
City zoning goes beyond that. As drawn on a map, most qualified lots are closer to an unofficial goal of 300 metres of separation from “sensitive uses” described by the province.
As well, local rules require a 25-metre separation from “community health service,” playgrounds, emergency shelter, addiction treatment facility or daycares.
Community Health facility refers to buildings where patients receive treatment or provides counselling, which the lab does not.
Nor is it a legal hospital, of which there are two in the city, the Medicine Hat Regional Hospital and the Carmel Hospice, operated by Covenant Health in Riverside.
The application, by Calgary-based 420 Premium Market, is one of two under consideration at today’s municipal planning commission meeting that would see retailers set up in larger commercial zones in Medicine Hat.
Nine such applications were approved by the planning commission in an initial round in late August, though eventually one was cancelled due to a paperwork error.
The applicant in that case, Kushbar Inc., is now reapplying with a correct address for a storefront in the Carry Drive Plaza at 3215 Dunmore Rd.
A local company is applying to open an outlet in a bay at 2882 Box Springs Blvd. — the first in the major commercial park in the city’s northwest.
Another Edmonton-based company that was approved for a downtown location in August is now applying to convert a former fast food location on Trans-Canada Way. It’s not known if that would be a second location, or if it replaces the first.
Major retailers are also signalling they may continue applying after the rapidly approaching Oct. 17 legalization date.
Alcanna plans to open 36 locations in Alberta, it was stated in a quarterly financial update from Aurora Cannabis, which owns a substantial share in the retailer.
That company, formerly Liquor Stores North America, operates Liquor Depot, and has two locations in south Medicine Hat, one large location in the recently opened Strachan Corner development, and a smaller existing location in the Southlands Crossing commercial park.
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