Legalization of Recreational Cannabis
The use of cannabis (marijuana) for recreational purposes is now legal across Canada, as per the Cannabis Act (Bill C-45). Individuals 19 or over are now allowed to possess and share up to 30 grams of dried cannabis or equivalent in non-dried form, grow up to four plants per household, and make food and drink products containing cannabis at home.
In British Columbia cannabis is being sold through a combination of public, and privately-run retail stores. All applications for Cannabis Retail Stores must be approved by the Provincial Liquor & Cannabis Regulation Branch. As part of this approval process applications are referred to the District, which must provide a positive recommendation for an application to proceed. Council has directed staff to add “Cannabis Retail Store” as a definition in Bylaw No. 600, Sooke Zoning Bylaw, 2013, and to add this as a permitted use under the C2 General Commercial Zone (restricted to the legal properties of the three existing stores). The District is proposing to address Cannabis Retail Stores through Zoning Amendment Bylaw no. 730, which will add “Cannabis Retail Store” as a defined use in Bylaw no. 600, Sooke Zoning Bylaw, 2013, and permit this use on four properties in two zones. Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 730 was given 1st and 2nd reading at the February 25 Council meeting (report can be found here) and a public hearing was held on April 8 (available for viewing here).
All cannabis production facilities in the District of Sooke must be approved and licensed by Health Canada. In addition to complying with all applicable municipal bylaws (i.e. zoning), cannabis production within the Agricultural Land Reserve must be grown in a soil base, as per section 2.5 of the Agricultural Land Reserve Use, Subdivision and Procedure Regulation. The Government of Canada has established a licensing framework, with health, safety, and security standards for cannabis production at different scales. Applicants must notify the District and local RCMP of their intent to obtain a license, the license type, and the location of their proposed facility prior to applying for a license from the Federal Government.
The District of Sooke is currently in the process of determining its approach to the regulation of cannabis production facilities. A targeted stakeholder engagement session will be held in early May, with a report for information going to Council soon. If you would like to take part in this session, or if you have other questions/comments please contact Nicholas Deibler, Planner 1, at email@example.com.
Chronology of Events:
- Cannabis for recreational purposes – Council Report (November 26, 2018)
- Retail Cannabis Stores – targeted stakeholder engagement (January 2019)
- Cannabis Retail Stores – Committee of the Whole Report (January 21, 2019)
- Cannabis Retail Stores, Zoning Amendment Bylaw no. 730 – Report and First and 2nd Reading (February 25, 2019)
- Bylaw No. 730 – 2nd reading rescinded, then given with the addition of use to C4 zone (March 25, 2019)
- Bylaw No. 730 – Public Hearing and 3rd reading given (April 8, 2019)
- Bylaw No. 730 – Adopted by Council (May 13, 2019)
- Cannabis Production – targeted stakeholder engagement (early May 2019)
- Cannabis Production – report to Council (May 2019)