Edmonton City Councillors Consider Zoning Restrictions on Marijuana Dispensaries

Article by Elise Stolte, Edmonton Sun

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City councillors are asking if new marijuana dispensaries should be kept away from schools and restricted like liquor stores.

Worried about a proliferation of dispensaries and grow-ops when Ottawa legalizes recreational marijuana, Coun. Mike Nickel introduced a lengthy zoning inquiry at council’s planning committee Wednesday.

“We can’t bury our heads in the sand anymore on this. … We need to be proactive,” Nickel said, pointing to the way marijuana dispensaries spread in Vancouver, rivalling the number of Starbucks.

Vancouver has since restricted how close each pot shop can be to the others, similar to how Edmonton limits liquor stores to being 500 metres from a competitor. Liquor stores here must also be 100 metres from a school.

But drinking liquor near a store doesn’t affect bystanders the same way a cloud of pot smoke would, Nickel said: “As an intoxicant, how are you going to deal with that?”

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