An employee arranges glass display containers of marijuana on shelves at a retail and medical cannabis dispensary in Boulder, Colo., in a 2016 file photo. The City of Whitehorse has tabled proposed reglations for cannabis retail. (Brennan Linsley/AP)

Whitehorse city council ponders rules for reefer retail

City may relax regulations after legal sales begin

Proposed municipal rules governing the retail sale of marijuana might seem over-cautious to start, but Whitehorse city staff say the rules could be relaxed once legal pot sales begin.

“The nature of this proposed business type has us setting up this bylaw to be cautionary at the onset,” said Dave Pruden, manager of bylaw services, who presented a report to council at the standing committees meeting on July 3. It outlined rules around operating a cannabis retail location.

He said that as the city measures community response to cannabis retail and city staff see, for example, that there isn’t a problem with break-ins, some rules may be dropped or amended.

Some of these rules include restricting operating hours to between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m., not allowing any advertising which “may reasonably be seen or heard by a child or young person who is outside the business premises,” and not allowing security bars or roll down shutters on the doors or windows, or within one metre of the inside face of the front windows, of a business selling cannabis.

Pruden said the rule around shuttering is an attempt to respect street layout in areas such as Main Street, where roll down shutters wouldn’t fit the streetscape, or make for a nice pedestrian experience.

“It’s about aesthetics,” said Pruden. “It’s about not having shutters right down to the sidewalk as you walk by.”

Mayor Dan Curtis said some Canadian cities (including Halifax, Windsor and Victoria) are waiting to see what their provincial governments are doing before coming up with municipal legislation.

Council was told it would be easy enough for the city to return to the bylaw and make changes to match territorial legislation, should it have to.

The bylaw will come back to council for a vote on July 9.

Contact Amy Kenny at amy.kenny@yukon-news.com

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