Old Strathcona business granted appeal in effort to get cannabis retail licence

An Edmonton business still has a chance to modify its licence from selling cannabis-related merchandise to cannabis itself, after an Alberta judge granted an appeal in its favour.

(Scroll down to read the complete appeal decision.)

The Green Room has sold cannabis paraphernalia in the commercial Old Strathcona district of Edmonton since 2015.

On July 4, 2018, The Green Room (CFPM Management Services Ltd.) applied to the city for a development permit to change the use of the store from “general retail” to “cannabis retail.”

Edmonton’s current zoning bylaw requires stores selling cannabis must be at least 200 metres from each other, and 100 metres from public lands zoned as a park.

The Green Room is located on 103 Street just south of Whyte Avenue. Across the street sits a small green space zoned as a park.

A development officer refused its application on Aug. 30, citing the nearby park and another cannabis retail store (located 153 metres away on 80 Avenue and 104 Street).

The Green Room appealed the rejection on Sept. 18 and asked for variances that would allow it to develop and operate as a cannabis retailer.

The City of Edmonton Subdivision and Development Appeal Board (SDAB) dismissed The Green Room’s appeal on Oct. 31.

The board found the store was located 21 metres from the nearest park and that the development officer didn’t have authority to grant any variances. The SDAB said it “could not exercise a variance power itself” and dismissed the applicant’s appeal.

The Green Room then appealed the board’s decision, arguing it erred in two ways: that it “lacked the authority to grant a variance to the separation distances” and that the development officer’s original denial followed the direction of city council.

The appeal will focus on the interpretation of a section of the bylaw which states: “A development may also be evaluated with respect to its compliance with the objectives and policies of an applicable statutory plan, the general regulations and special land use provisions of this bylaw and the regulations of abutting zones.”

Justice Ritu Khullar with the Court of Appeal of Alberta agreed with The Green Room and granted permission for an appeal.

The decision was filed at the Law Courts on Jan. 9, 2019.


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