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Cap on cannabis retail licences could be reconsidered

The City of Grande Prairie could be taking another look at its cap on cannabis retail business licences. At an Infrastructure & Protective Services meeting Tuesday morning, the committee asked staff for a report on what it would take to change the bylaw.

“I think the most prudent thing to do is to accept that maybe we need to revisit it, but we want to know what the effects are of revisiting it before we make a decision,” says chair Clyde Blackburn. “It sounds to me like it’s going to be rather complicated or at least complex.”

Three prospective business owners approached city council in July expressing concern about the limit of 15 licences. All 27 applicants were drawn in a lottery on July 9th, in case any of the first 15 don’t move forward with their business plans.

“What we heard is there’s a sense of unfairness for those people who have been preparing to open a retail outlet and have made some investment that may end up being stranded,” Blackburn explains, “and so I think from that perspective it’s fair to say they deserve for us to have a second look at it.”

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Blackburn says the report should include the potential impacts of changing the bylaw or removing the cap, which was requested by the concerned retailers. It is slated to come before city council at their meeting on August 27th.

“I would rather see us make the right kinds of decisions and do it properly even if they do involve some delays, rather than getting it wrong,” says Blackburn.

Marijuana will be legal in Canada starting October 17th.

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