Nipawin town council held a special meeting on July 16th, 2018 which included a public hearing providing an opportunity for residents to speak up in favour of, or against, Bylaw 1047/18 – A Bylaw to Authorize an Amendment to Bylaw 763/2000, the Zoning Bylaw – Cannabis Retail.
Only one resident attended to speak at the public hearing. He raised the concern that the 50 meter perimeter around protected facilities, such as daycares, schools and recreational facilities did not address potential sight-line issues(a hypothetical line from someone’s eye to what is seen). He explained his concern was that, while the 50 meter perimeter prevented a Cannabis Retailer from being to close to a protected property, it could still be possible for a retailer to be located in such a way that it is more than 50 meters away but visible from a facility children frequent.
After the public hearing, Councillor Watts expressed her concerns with inadequacy of the 50 meter boundary, and suggested expanding that to 150 meter boundary, citing other communities that have done so. CAO Barry Elliot pointed out that expanding the boundary to 150 meters would significantly impact the available locations for a Cannabis retail outlet in the C1 zoning district.
An error in the documentation was also pointed out, in that the zoning a retail Cannabis store may be located in would only include C1-Downtown Commercial, not C2-Highway commercial. The publish documents included C2 – Highway Commercial. Mayor Harper instructed CAO Elliot to correct and update the documents.
After an in-depth discussion Mayor Harper and the councilors in attendance agreed the points raised by the resident and Councillor Watts showed the 50 meter boundary may not provide the protection it was intended to and Mayor Harper instructed Town Planner Jeff Hrynkiw to further research alternative options. A new map will be laid out to determine how many commercial properties will be affected by a 150 meter boundary as well as looking at the possibility of keeping the boundary at 50 meters but incorporating a sight-line into the bylaw.
Another public hearing will be held to allow ratepayers a chance to speak for or against the bylaw
Once any amendments are made to the proposed bylaw, two weeks notice will be given by the town for another public hearing prior to the bylaw being adopted.
Important note; The boundary maps shown here are for demonstration purposes only and are not official. The C1 Downtown Commercial zoning map was obtained from the Town of Nipawin Documents and overlayed to only approximate the affected areas. The main purpose of these maps is to demonstrate the difference between the 50 meter and 150 meter boundaries. Included in the boundaries are the following locations, some of which may not be deemed as protected by the Town of Nipawin; Gabriel Dumont Institute, Nipawin School of Dance, Oasis Community Center, Botting Park, Opendoor Playcare, Legion Hall, Centennial & Jubilee Arena Complex, Skate Park, Town Square, 4H Lot (Next to Family Bakery-may not be considered)*
Understanding Bylaw 1047/18
A Bylaw to Authorize an Amendment to Bylaw 763/2000, the Zoning Bylaw – Cannabis Retail
The first part of the proposed by-law creates a new retail category specifically for a store selling non-medicinal cannabis.
First, the old wording amends an existing bylaw with a new definition;
Bylaw No. 763/2000 would be amended as follows:
OLD WORDING – “Retail Store means a place where goods, wares, or merchandise are offered for sale or rent,and my include the manufacturing of products to be sold on site, provided the gross floor area used for manufacturing does not exceed 25% of the gross floor area of the retail store.”
NEW WORDING – “Retail Store means a place where goods, wares, or merchandise are offered for sale or rent, but excludes the retail sale of cannabis other than in licensed pharmacies. Retail stores may include the manufacturing of products to be sold on site, provided the gross floor area used for manufacturing does not exceed 25% of the gross floor area of the retail store.”
This rewording is the first step to allow the council to create the new category for the retail sale of cannabis.
Second, a new definition is added to the Zoning Bylaw defining Retail Cannabis stores;
“Cannabis Retail Store means a building or part of a building in which the owner or tenant is legally permitted to sell non-medicinal cannabis. Other items defined as “cannabis accessory” within the Cannabis Act and cannabis-related ancillary items as defined by SLGA can also be sold at a cannabis retail store. No production of cannabis is permitted to take place at a Cannabis retail store.”
The new definition clarifies what can be sold legally within a retail cannabis store. As well as non-medicinal cannabis, the store will be permitted to sell accessory items as permitted by the Cannabis Act. This Act defines cannabis accessory as;
(a) a thing, including rolling papers or wraps, holders, pipes, water pipes, bongs and vaporizers, that is represented to be used in the consumption of cannabis or a thing that is represented to be used in the production of cannabis; or
(b) a thing that is deemed under subsection (3) to be represented to be used in the consumption or production of cannabis.
The SLGA outlines what would be deemed Ancillary;
This will include such things as cannabis industry magazines, branded t-shirts and ashtrays, cannabis artwork, etc. They cannot sell snacks, tobacco, liquor, or other noncannabis related items.
The town’s new definition also clearly lays out the retail location can not be used for the production of Cannabis.
Third, Cannabis Retail Stores must conform to new regulations set out specifically for them:
“The property boundary of which a cannabis retail store is proposed shall not be located within 50m of any property boundary of the following principle uses:
- Daycare centres
- Public or private schools
- Parks and playgrounds
- Public recreation uses
- Community Centres”
The purpose of this boundary is to reduce exposure to children and youth. The boundary is intended to prevent children from viewing the store front as they enter and exit the places they tend to frequent. Despite rumours that the provincial government already sets out distances from places like schools and daycares, that is not the case. The SLGA has opted to leave it in the hands of each municipal government to decide what zoning bylaws they wish to enact to control locations.
Will there be any restrictions on where I can locate my cannabis retail store? SLGA will require that the store complies with any municipal zoning requirements. Beyond that, SLGA will not regulate the location of stores, but local governments may choose to do so. For example, local governments may restrict how close a store can be to another cannabis store, schools, daycares, liquor stores or other places.- Source; Guide to Saskatchewan’s Cannabis Retail Framework
Does my store have to be a certain distance from schools or other retailers?
Local governments have the authority to impose distance requirements and other conditions, so you should inquire with your local government about local distance requirements before committing to a location. SLGA will not be setting these requirements.- Source; Guide to Saskatchewan’s Cannabis Retail Framework
Prepare and submit a report in support of the proposed development
“The proponent shall prepare and submit a report in support of the proposed development which confirms the suitability of the development in its proposed location relative to the principle uses identified in clause (1)(a) of this section. “
This requirement ensures that the owner of the proposed store provides the Town of Nipawin with a detailed report so that staff and council can ensure the proposed location and facilities follow the zoning bylaw prior to establishing the retail location.
“Safeguards to prevent odour from affecting nearby properties shall be proposed and may be listed as a condition to permit approval.“
This addresses many residents concerns that cannabis odour may create a nuisance.
Assuring compliance with all regulations
“Cannabis retail stores shall comply with all federal and provincial statutes and regulations and applicable municipal bylaws.”
The Federal Cannabis Act, which received Royal Assent on June 21, 2018, outlines in great detail extensive regulations related to the sale of recreational cannabis. By adding this line to the bylaw, the Town of Nipawin empowers themselves to act on any potential illegal activities and deal with the retail location as a zoning bylaw infraction.
The Province of Saskatchewan has assigned the oversight of Cannabis Retailers to the SLGA (Saskatchewan Liquor & Gaming Authority). In addition to the regulations laid out by the Federal Cannabis Act, the SLGA had the option to create their own rules in addition to those laid out, such as increasing the minimum age set out federally from 18 to 19.
Fourth, Technical specifications are laid out
In addition to those points, the rest of the bylaw changes lay out the specifics a store would have to comply with such as building specifications, off street parking, and number of stores allowed in the C1 zoning (being only 1 of course).
What about store customers consuming Cannabis inside, or on the street in front of, the store?
Provincial and Federal regulations prohibit consumption within the retail stores and well as regulating use of Cannabis in public places such as the sidewalk in front of the stores. Among the penalties for consumption include;
- For the customers wanting to consume Cannabis on the street in front of the store; “Consumption of cannabis in a public place, or any place other than a private place” a fine of $200. A fine of $2,250 could be faced if they consume the cannabis inside the store.
- For the store owner, they face a $2,250 fine for even allowing the Cannabis to be removed from it’s packaging in the store, “Opening or breaking open or allowing opening or breaking of container or package of cannabis being transported or distributed“, and another $2,250 if they allow a customer to consume the Cannabis in their store, “Consuming or permitting consumption of cannabis being transported or distributed.” For a total of $4,500 in fines per incident if they allowed a customer to both open and light up.
See related articles:
Other concerns covered in Provincial and Federal Regulations
In addition to regulations set out by the town, the province framework and federal act also play into the selection of the store location.
Cannabis Retail locations are required to be “Standalone” stores
What qualifies as a standalone store?
A standalone cannabis retail store sells only cannabis and related items. It can be located in the same building as other businesses, but must be separated by floor-to-ceiling walls that don’t allow access between the businesses. Customers must access the business through an exterior door and/or a door that opens onto a common entry space (for example, a foyer or hallway). It must also have its own point-of-sale system.
What this means for the store owner is, in addition to which buildings in Nipawin it cannot be located in defined by either a 50 or 150 meter boundary, the layout of the store must fit the description of a standalone store, with no access to other stores or offices that might share a building with them and a separate entrance either from the street or through a common area.
What would children and youth see if a store is in sight from a protected location?
Both the Federal and Provincial regulations lay out very strict rules for store design, advertising and promotions. The key factor is that no cannabis products may be visible from outside the store. The regulations also dictate what can be used in advertising, including what is displayed in store windows.
Are there any rules about the physical layout of my store? – To help limit youth exposure to cannabis products, SLGA and the federal government require that cannabis products not be visible from outside your store. There will be many different ways for you to achieve this requirement (e.g. window designs), but remember that you must comply with provincial and federal requirements respecting advertising and promotion. Inventory may be displayed securely (for example, in locked containers, or behind a counter accessible only to staff), or may be kept out of sight. All sales must take place in an indoor space that minors are not able to access. Drive-through service will not be allowed. – Source; Guide to Saskatchewan’s Cannabis Retail Framework
Inspections and Compliance
To ensure that cannabis is being sold in a lawful and responsible manner, SLGA will establish a compliance program that will include education, inspection and enforcement activities. The focus will be on encouraging voluntary compliance. SLGA will impose specific requirements around physical security and monitoring to ensure that inventory is kept secure. – Source; Guide to Saskatchewan’s Cannabis Retail Framework
How often will retail Canabis stores be inspected? – Every store will be inspected before the permit is issued and regularly thereafter based on location and other characteristics such as business volume and compliance history. SLGA will investigate any complaints received.
What happens if a store is found to be out of compliance? – If an inspector observes a contravention of provincial legislation at Cannabis retailer, a “Notice for Improvement” will be issued and/or the inspector may recommend penalties. Penalties could include a warning, a monetary sanction and/or permit suspension, or cancellation of the permit. There will be an appeal process for businesses that wish to challenge a penalty. There may also be criminal sanctions against an individual or business that is found to be in violation of the Cannabis Act. Decisions about criminal sanctions will be made by the police and prosecutors responsible for that type of enforcement. Source; Guide to Saskatchewan’s Cannabis Retail Framework
Can the police enter and inspect a store?
Police can enter and inspect a store to ensure they are operating in compliance with the legal requirements. Source; Guide to Saskatchewan’s Cannabis Retail Framework
Further information can be obtained from the following sources;
Town of Nipawin BYLAW NO. 763/2000 ZONING BYLAW
Town of Nipawin Bylaws
Bill 121 – The Cannabis Control (Saskatchewan) Act
Feature image source; Pixabay – TechPhotoGal;