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Cold Lake considers allowing cannabis micro-processing

Cold Lake SAILS
City of Cold Lake council is holding a public hearing regarding cannabis micro-processing. File photo.

COLD LAKE – Cannabis micro-processing could soon be allowed within Cold Lake city limits.

Council has scheduled a public hearing for May 26 before considering a motion to amend the land use bylaw to allow cannabis micro-processing within the city’s commercial districts.

“This is an exciting new option in the legislation that has the potential to bring manufacturing jobs to our city,” Mayor Craig Copeland said in a press release. “The City of Cold Lake is being proactive to ensure that no business opportunities are lost, while also ensuring that businesses are appropriately located so that they do not have a negative impact on their neighbours.”

The city’s current land use bylaw states cannabis producers can only set up shop in light or heavy industrial areas since the Federal Cannabis Act and Regulations originally allowed only large-scale cannabis productions, that wouldn’t be suited for the city's commercial district.

The federal regulations have since changed to allow micro-processing licenses for businesses that will not use more than 600 kilograms of dried cannabis a year in the production of their product, such as edibles and topicals.

The companies who make the product can't sell directly to the public, instead they must be sold to regulated cannabis supply chains for resale through licensed cannabis shops.

City administration recommended to council that these operations be allowed in areas zoned for commercial use, as well as light and heavy industrial, because there are no public sales to the public and "the licence allows for fairly small-scale production."

While the new regulations also allow for micro-growing licence, the suggestion from administration is to keep those operations only in light or heavy industrial zoned areas. "This is because the the cultivation of cannabis, even on the scale allowed by the micro-growing license, has the potential to create nuisance effects such as odour and high humidity, that could affect adjacent businesses,” the release stated.

The land use bylaw amendment proposes to create a cannabis micro-processor use that would be added as a discretionary use within all zoning districts allowing for commercial, light industrial, and heavy industrial areas. City administration feels this would allow for the greatest flexibility in finding a suitable location for those businesses.

Robynne Henry, Bonnyville Nouvelle