The City currently has zoning regulations that specifically apply to commercial (recreational) retail sales and commercial (recreational) growing of cannabis. Note—this section does not apply to the growth or sales of medical cannabis, which is regulated by Health Canada. (See lower down the page for information on regulation of medical cannabis).
In our Zoning bylaw, there are two different uses that we regulate pertaining to Cannabis—Cannabis Retail Sales and Commercial Cannabis Operations.
COMMERCIAL CANNABIS OPERATIONS means cannabis cultivation, propagation and processing for retail purposes
CANNABIS RETAIL SALES means a business under the regulations of the Cannabis Control and Licensing Act and where the principal business is the retail sales of Cannabis for consumption off site and includes government and private stores.
In 2018 the recreational use of cannabis was made legal by Provincial legislation. Following public notification and input, the City put into place zoning regulations that permitted the retail (not growth) of recreational cannabis in our downtown area. These new regulations restricted the retail sale of recreational cannabis to the downtown and Cow Bay areas only. In addition, the Bylaw restricted the number of retailers, stating that no Cannabis Retail Store may occur within 75 meters of another.
When the City updated our Zoning Bylaw in 2021, we also included restrictions on commercial growing of recreational cannabis. Commercial cannabis operations are only permitted in M2 (General Industrial) and M3 (Waterfront Industrial) zones and must be contained within enclosed buildings.
Recreational cannabis grow operations for retail purposes are a also prohibited use as a home occupation in our Zoning Bylaw. However, individual residents are permitted to grow up to four plants for personal use, as permitted by the new Provincial Cannabis Act.
In 2018, at the same time our Zoning was amended, the City also updated our bylaws to include a new fee structure and Council consideration process for when we receive application referrals for commercial cannabis retail licenses from the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch (LCRB). To obtain a municipal business license, applicants must:
· Go through a public notification and feedback process, with that feedback provided to Council prior to the granting of a license.
· Provide a detailed security plan, written proof from the Fire Chief that all fire safety standards are met, and owners and staff must provide criminal record checks and be free of convictions under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act for a period of 10 years.
Council will make a determination on granting a business license based on public feedback as well as the above-provided information. The LCRB will not approve a retail license for a business that has not first received approval from the local government. In addition, growth of cannabis on site, drive through and delivery sales are not permitted, and operators must pay a business license application fee of $5,000 and annual renewal fees of $2,500 to the City.