Calgary city councillors approved a new definition for land use bylaws dealing with medical cannabis counselling centres in the city.

In a report tabled at today’s city council meeting, councillors voted 10–3 to create a new definition in land-use bylaws around facilities that help medical cannabis patients obtain documentation needed to access licensed producer cannabis.

The city report says that cannabis is a unique prescription medicine because it isn’t dispensed by a pharmacy, but rather directly from the manufacturers themselves.

Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi said the bylaw amendments were needed to fill a vacuum in policy around the businesses before more begin to open.

“This unique situation has created some demand from patients for counselling from third parties as this service is not being provided by pharmacists because they do not dispense medical marihuana, and because not all medical professionals have expertise on all of the licensed producers and the various types or strains of medical marihuana,” the report read.

The new use deals specifically with those operations where counselling on medical cannabis is provided by persons who are not medical professionals.

The new definition comes with a set of rules that will see the counselling centres separated by 300 metres from one another and 150 metres from schools.

The regulations may be the first of their kind in the country. While other cities have focused on regulation of medical cannabis dispensaries they have allowed the cannabis counselling centres to operate under the umbrella of medical clinics or offices.

Calgary currently has two of the businesses operating in the city.

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