City council committee to discuss new zoning bylaws for cannabis stores

WINNIPEG –

A city council committee will soon discuss new zoning bylaws for retail cannabis stores.

Walking down Osborne Street, pedestrians have a wide variety of cannabis retailers to choose from.

“Yeah, I’ve seen a lot pop up over the past couple of years around here,” said Natasha Kuzyk, who was walking in Osborne Village.

“I’ve noticed a steady increase around here. I haven’t been paying too much attention, but I have noticed a lot more people smoking out in the open in the area,” noted Roth Kensley-Speelman, who was also walking in Osborne Village.

A new City of Winnipeg report said Osborne Village is one of three Winnipeg neighbourhoods to have cannabis retailers within 50 metres of each other.

The report is recommending cannabis bylaws be part of the upcoming City of Winnipeg bylaw review.

John Arbuthnot, the CEO of Delta 9 Cannabis, said the rise in stores could be traced back to when the province dropped its zoning rules in June 2020.

“That competition is becoming quite fierce. It’s not uncommon in some areas such as Osborne Village, Corydon as well, to see multiple competitors popping up within only a few block radius,” said Arbuthnot.

According to the city, in October 2020, Winnipeg had approximately 14 cannabis stores. As of October 2021, the city said there are now 73.

The increase has caught Councillor Ross Eadie’s attention.

“When you have a lot of that, it’s giving almost a marijuana district to aspect to it saying this is the sort of societal, cultural image happening in the Osborne Village or whatever,” said Eadie.

Along with the density of the stores, another concern is that no zoning bylaw exists to stop stores from opening beside schools and parks.

“No matter what we do to the zoning bylaw in the future, those existing places that are close to schools will remain there. There is not going to be any tool to remove them,” noted Eadie.

The idea of tighter restrictions of stores has Winnipeggers split, with some CTV News spoke to saying a little more regulation is needed

“I think that is probably a good idea,” said Kensley-Speelman.

“I really can’t think of a reason to. If people want access to it, they are going to find it,” said Kuzyk.

“I agree with the schools. I think maybe four blocks away from schools,” said Phoenix Kawakami.

The zoning bylaws will be discussed at the Property and Development Committee meeting on December 2. 

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