Humboldt city council adopted changes to their zoning bylaws during their Aug. 27 meeting.
Humboldt’s zoning bylaws will now include cannabis retail stores under their discretionary use section.
“The purpose of the Bylaw is to regulate the locations and intensity of the use as the Federal Government has announced that recreational cannabis will be legal in Canada on October 17, 2018,” stated the bylaw.
Following the public hearing, which had no one from the public in attendance, and discussion between the councillors, the motion passed in a 5-2 split.
Bringing a retail location to Humboldt will cause more work for the RCMP, ambulance, healthcare, and emergency services, says councillor Roger Nordick, but at least Humboldt is a location where those services are available.
“If there’s going to be a store somewhere, I’d rather have it here than some small community whether there is no police force.”
If not here, then where, asked Mayor Rob Muench.
“By having it here under our control in our community, with the SLGA, the province, and the federal government looking after it to make sure stuff is done the way it’s supposed to, I’m more comfortable with that.”
Cannabis legalization will impact the Humboldt community and denying a retail location would not help alleviate those impacts, says Muench.
Stephanie Tan, Director of Government and Stakeholder Relations with Western Canada at Canopy Growth Corporation was in the gallery to take any questions from councillors and the public.
While Councillor Lorne Pratchler is excited that Tan and Canopy Growth has shown enthusiasm for having the opportunity to come into the Humboldt community, he still voted against the changes to the bylaw saying Humboldt would be sending the wrong message by approving it.
Recent talks with the Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association have noted the dangers of cannabis consumption for anyone under the age of 21.
“When we have a retail operation in Humboldt it sends signal to our residents that once you hit 19, you’re good to smoke marijuana…I’m concerned with the message our community sends out by having access to cannabis right now, right here.”
Councillor Larry Jorgenson countered Pratchler’s point by questioning the city’s duty to restrict cannabis use just because some people may disagree with legalization.
“Is it up to us to tell our neighbours that they shouldn’t smoke cannabis? Probably not.”