Banff's Bylaw 420: Tricky elements to legalizing cannabis in national park –

Banff’s town council is working on Bylaw 420.

That would be the cheekily labelled amendments to its land use bylaw pertaining to cannabis-related businesses.

Like all municipalities, Banff is looking at rules related to where cannabis retail shops can set up. There’s talk of dealing with issues like clustering and restricting how close they can be to schools or daycare centres.

Council may also get to rules on where cannabis consumption will be allowed.

But Banff is a bit different from most municipalities; its commercial district is small and restricted in size.

The town is also a world-renowned tourism destination that draws millions of visitors every year.

The president of Compass Clinics — a cannabis business based in Calgary and Kelowna, B.C., — spoke to town council on Monday about the coming bylaw changes.

“There is cannabis in Banff today. I don’t think I’m going to surprise anybody by saying that,” said Dave Martin.

Economic benefits

Martin told council there will be a great many economic benefits to the coming legalization of cannabis.

His advice is that whatever rules are put in place, don’t allow cannabis shops to cluster in one area. Rather they should be spread out so their benefits are shared with other businesses as well.

“If people are coming there for cannabis, they will shop around that area. As part of just retail mixed use, it’s a good benefit as long as it is spread out throughout the community,” he said. 

Banff’s popularity with tourists is certainly part of the reason why the town says there’s big interest by companies and entrepreneurs in being the first retailers to open — perhaps right on Banff Avenue.

The town’s director of planning and development, Randall McKay, said it’s why council wants to be ready with answers when the questions start coming.

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