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Grande Prairie cannabis retailers could see expanded hours

New cannabis bylaws could come into effect for retailers in Grande Prairie after discussion in Tuesday’s committee meetings.

According to a proposal from Grande Prairie City Councillor Dylan Bressey, current red tape from the city is preventing cannabis retailers from utilizing their full legal operations hours in GP.

Presently, provincial laws allow cannabis retailers to operate between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 2:00 a.m., similar to liquor stores; however, in the City of Grande Prairie, retailers can only operate between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.

Councillor Bressey says the current municipal bylaws came from a “conservative” approach by council during the early stages of cannabis legalization, and he says it would be prudent to reevaluate the approach based on current data.

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“When cannabis was first legalized, there were so many unknowns so council took a very conservative approach to cannabis retailing, as time has gone on, we haven’t seen a big impact in neighbouring communities, we’ve loosened up the regulations,” he says. “This is a highly regulated industry that’s got a lot of rules it has to live with under the province, I don’t know if we need additional municipal rules for it.”

Bressey credits his proposal to a number of retailers in the industry who presented concerns regarding hours of operation bylaws in the city. He says it is solely on council to work with businesses in GP to ensure all types of retailers can be treated fairly and without unnecessary government interference.

“I had retailers reach out to me sharing their concerns about the rules, and that’s something that we regularly have as councillors,” he says. “It’s our responsibility as councillors to be very responsive and talk to our colleagues when we hear ideas about how to make the community better to do business in.”

Ashley Vanderburgh, a “bud-tender” at Value Buds Grande Prairie West, says she sees the opportunity to expand store hours as a good thing, as it would allow more flexibility for customers.

“We wouldn’t mind opening up earlier, I think it’s a good thing because it’s busy here, we’re one of the busiest weed stores in town,” she says.

Council opted to move the proposal past the committee stage and the matter is set to be discussed and voted on during their next Monday meeting.

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