The Town of Sexsmith is looking at only allowing two business licences for cannabis retailers. Town council has given first reading to an amendment to its business bylaw that would limit the number of permits and only allow one per business entity.

“I believe there have been a couple enquiries so far,” says Mayor Claude Lagace, who adds that if there are more than two applications it’s likely a lottery will be done to ensure fairness.

The town has been preparing for marijuana legalization for the past two years but has been waiting for the provincial and federal government to finalize their legislation before making anything official. Lagace doesn’t see the town straying too much from what’s in place.

“We’re going to treat it a lot like a liquor store. A lot of the regulations are coming from the Alberta government already.”

Sexsmith is also considering limiting retail hours between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m., instead of letting stores stay open until 2 a.m. It’s also looking at annual licence fees of $4,000 for shops and $2,500 for production and distribution, but Legace says that could change.

“We’ll be looking at this again to revisit the price to make sure we’re about the same as everybody else. I believe Grande Prairie is up there, so I believe we need to look at ours again.”

The City of Grande Prairie recently decided to lower its business licensing fee from a proposed $5,000 to $2,500.

In total, the town expects to have to make changes to five of its bylaws and two of its manuals in preparation for legalization on October 17, 2018. Weed will have to be added to the town’s smoking and parks bylaws, and the town has options to adjust the distance retail locations can be from playgrounds and facilities it owns.

All of the proposed changes are still up for discussion and Lagace hopes to hear the public’s thoughts.

“We haven’t signed anything; we’re waiting for public input,” he explains. “All these bylaws will be open to the public to come and comment online or in person.”