Town Hall

Cannabis Information
The Town of Didsbury's Approach to Recreational Cannabis Legalization
The federal government introduced legislation to legalize recreational (non-medical) cannabis by 2018. The Town of Didsbury is now required to take steps to ensure its own bylaws, policies, procedures are aligned with the legislation being passed down. Doing so will ensure the legislation's successful integration process. The federal and provincial regulations are currently being put in place, and the Town of Didsbury is required to determine who, where, when and how cannabis will be possessed, sold and consumed within the Town. 


The Town of Didsbury wants to thank everyone who participated in the recreational cannabis survey. Through this process of public engagement, the Town of Didsbury received over 350 surveys to assist the Town to draft policies (see attachments below) associated to the Recreational Cannabis for the Town Land Use Bylaw. To date, the drafted policies have been posted below for public review. Residences of the Town of Didsbury are encouraged to provide their comments on these drafted policies in writing by September 1, 2018, to the Town Office. To authenticate that your comments will directly impact those living in Didsbury, please provide your name and address with your comments. 
Click the link below to view a copy of the proposed policies. 
The Town of Didsbury's next step will include a review of all comments received in consideration of the final draft of the Recreational Cannabis policies. The final draft of the policies will be presented to Council this Fall for adoption by Bylaw as rules and regulation of Recreational Cannabis in the Town of Didsbury. 
The results from the Recreational Cannabis Survey indicate a moderate split vote with Question #1. 
"What do you feel is an adequate minimum setback distance for Cannabis retail Sales to be located from a school, park, playground, daycare facility, or indoor sports facility?"

Click the links below to view the maps
(39%) 100M Setback 
(61%) 200M Setback

As the residents of Didsbury are split on this matter, Administration has prepared two maps (100M, 200M) representing the impacts on commercial areas where there is potential for opportunities for Cannabis Retail Sales. The Town is cautious about limiting business opportunities by regulating a 200M buffer: as an alternative, the policies present a 100M buffer from schools, playgrounds, and commercial areas where there is broader potential for Cannabis Retail Sales. 
The Town of Didsbury is proposing an amendment the LAND USE BYLAW (2013-03); PART 3 – GENERAL REGULATIONS, SECTION 19 - CANNABIS RELATED DEVELOPMENTS; whereas under the Discretionary Use, CANNABIS RETAIL SALES shall be restricted to GENERAL DISTRICT COMMERCIAL (C-1) & HIGHWAY DISTRICT COMMERCIAL (C-2). 
Cannabis Retail Sales shall be restricted to C1 and C2 Districts

Bill C-45 (the Cannabis Act) is currently being reviewed by the Senate of Canada. Bill C-45 is a piece of government legislation that would legalize access to cannabis in Canada. Bill C-45 would also control and regulate how cannabis is grown, distributed and sold. This Act is in respect to cannabis and to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Criminal Code and other Acts. 
It was put forward that the current program for accessing cannabis for medical purposes would continue under the new Act, and that recreational cannabis would remain illegal until the proposed Cannabis Act was brought into force. 
The Alberta Government subsequently developed the Alberta Cannabis Framework, indicating how the province intends to achieve the following policy objectives: 
  1. Keep cannabis out of the hands of children and youth. 
  2. Protecting the safety of roads, in workplaces and public spaces. 
  3. Protecting public health
  4. Limiting the illegal market for cannabis. 
The Alberta government passed Bill 26: An Act to Control and Regulate Cannabis on November 30, 2017 "to empower elements of the framework through legalization, which are largely in the form of amendments to the Game and Liquor Act.  
The federal government has given municipalities the ability to alter rules and regulations to be more or less restrictive than those proposed by the federal and provincial governments. The roles and responsibilities of the legalization of cannabis by the Town of Didsbury include: 
  1. Education
  2. Taxation
  3. Cannabis Retail and Production locations and potential setbacks. 
  4. Consumption Areas
  5. Land Use Zoning
  6. Potential Hours of Operation
Through the process of public engagement, the Town of Didsbury will analyze the surveys to inform the process of amending the Town's Bylaw. 
The following links will provide more detail on the legislation of legalizing cannabis.