Sylvan Lake introducing two-part licensing for cannabis retail

The first reading of the Business Licensing Bylaw was passed at the Aug. 27 meeting

Sylvan Lake is working on clarifying business licensing ahead of the legalization of cannabis, which is planned for mid-October.

There were a large number of amendments brought forward to introduce cannabis retail sales in Sylvan Lake, which is why the Town introduced a new Business Licensing Bylaw for first reading.

This new bylaw recommends a two-part licensing system for cannabis retails sales. This system will address requirements placed by Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission (AGLC) “while protecting the interests of the municipality.”

The two-part system was first discussed at a Committee of the Whole meeting on July 17, and includes an administrative license and an operational license.

Administrative license is defined as a license issued for administrative purposes only for a proposed cannabis retail sales business.

Operational license is defined as a license issued for the operation of a cannabis retail sale business.

“To ensure that a cannabis retail sales business does not operate without an operational license the bylaw proposes a fine of $2,500 for operating without such license,” the report to Council states.

Fees will be associated with each type of licence required to open a cannabis retail shop.

Town administrations suggests a fee of $850 for the administrative license. This license will expire when the ownership of the business changes.

The operational license expires each year on Dec. 31, and has a fee of $150.

The reason for the two part system, according to Town staff, is because of the change in requirements from AGLC.

Before a store owner can be approved by the AGLC to gain their provincial license, they must first have the approval of their municipality.

The two part system ensure they cannot operate in Sylvan Lake without the proper licensing, or face a hefty fine.

“An administrative license will only be utilized by the licensee to assist in obtaining their provincial cannabis retail store license from Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission,” the report states.

The Town wanted to ensure the business owners of the cannabis shop were thoroughly vetted by AGLC before an operational license was distributed.

Sylvan Lake is not the only municipality in Alberta to impose higher or additional fees for cannabis retail shops.

To open a cannabis retail shop in near-by Camrose, entrepreneurs will be asked to pay for a $1,200 license. Similarly, it will cost $2,500 in Edmonton.

Lloydminster is introducing a “cannabis license fee” of $1,500 on top of the city’s usual license fee.

Applications for a license to open a cannabis retail store in Sylvan Lake are now open.

“…Applicants that have submitted a development permit for a cannabis retail sales location will be directly provided the information regarding the business licensing requirements.”

The bylaw is expected to return to Council for second and third reading at the Sept. 10 regular meeting.

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