I hope that everyone had a great summer. Even though it was fairly hot and dry, we were fortunate that there were fewer fires this in comparison to last year, although our fire department was still kept very busy.
One of the issues that Council has been working on over the summer is the bylaws necessary for the legalization of cannabis. While the Federal Government has set a date of October 17th, 2018 for the legalization of the controversial legislation, they have challenged local governments to set some of their own parameters regarding the impending change in law. These parameters include locations where cannabis will be allowed to be sold within town limits and where it can be consumed.
To determine the opinion of residents the Town of Hanna held a Cannabis Education event on May 16th followed by a public survey with good response (247 surveys completed). Council used this information when reviewing and drafting the necessary Bylaw changes as well as consulting with the RCMP on what they would like to see in these bylaws.
Following this, Council was required to amend the Land Use Bylaw to regulate where Cannabis retail stores could be located in the Town of Hanna. This amendment was approved by Council at the July 10th, 2018 meeting. The process for amending the land use bylaw was to give it first reading, which was done at the June 12th Council meeting, followed by a public hearing which was conducted at the July 10th Council meeting. Following the public hearing on July 10th, the Land Use Bylaw Amendment was given second and third reading.
In addition to the Land Use Bylaw Amendment, Council had an option to enact a new bylaw to regulate the public consumption of cannabis unless Council was comfortable with the Provincial legislation which is considerably more liberal than what Council was comfortable with. At the Town Council meeting on September 11th Council gave first reading to the Cannabis Consumption Bylaw. Basically, this bylaw states that you may only consume cannabis on your private property, similar to the provincial legislation on consumption of alcohol. While it is not required to have public consultation on the cannabis consumption bylaw, Council looks forward to any additional input residents may have prior to giving the Cannabis Consumption Bylaw second and third readings at our October 9th meeting. The Cannabis Consumption Bylaw will be available on the Town of Hanna website or you may obtain a hard copy of the Bylaw from the Town Office to review.
Mayor, Town of Hanna