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. The District has addressed Cannabis Retail Stores through Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 730 (600-69), 2019, which was adopted on May 13, 2019. This amendment added, “Cannabis Retail Store” as a defined use in Bylaw No. 600, Sooke Zoning Bylaw, 2013, and permits this use on four properties in two zones. A public hearing was held for this bylaw amendment on April 8 (available for viewing here).

All cannabis production facilities in the District of Sooke must be licensed by Health Canada, and comply with all applicable municipal bylaws (i.e. zoning). 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. As per section 2(8) of the Agricultural Land Reserve Use Regulation cannabis production is considered a farm use in the Agricultural Land Reserve, and cannot be prohibited if grown outdoors or inside a structure with a soil base.

The District of Sooke is currently determining its approach to the regulation of cannabis production facilities. A targeted stakeholder engagement session was held in early May and a report for information went to Council in late May and early June.

If you have questions/comments please contact Nicholas Deibler, Planner 1, at


Chronology of Events:

  1. Cannabis for recreational purposes – Council Report (November 26, 2018)
  2. Cannabis Retail Stores – Targeted stakeholder engagement (January 2019)
  3. Cannabis Retail Stores – Committee of the Whole Report (January 21, 2019)
  4. Cannabis Retail Stores, Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 730 – Report and First and Second Reading (February 25, 2019)
  5. Bylaw No. 730 – Second reading rescinded, then given with the addition of use to C4 zone (March 25, 2019)
  6. Bylaw No. 730 – Public Hearing and Third reading given (April 8, 2019)
  7. Bylaw No. 730 – Adopted (May 13, 2019)
  8. Cannabis Production – Targeted stakeholder engagement (early May 2019)
  9. Cannabis Production – Report for Information to Council (May 27, 2019)
  10. Cannabis Production – Updated Report for Information to Council (June 10, 2019)


Where can I legally consume cannabis in Sooke?

The use of cannabis is not allowed in outdoor public spaces (such as parks and playgrounds), in vehicles and boats, in workplaces, and within 7 meters of any publicly-accessible building or structure. Indoor consumption is only permitted in private residences.

For more information about where you can consume recreational cannabis please consult Capital Regional District Clean Air Bylaw No. 1, 2014:

Am I able to sell and purchase edible cannabis products for recreational purposes?

No. The Cannabis Act excludes edible cannabis products as a legal form of recreational cannabis to be purchased and sold. The Federal Government intends to authorize edible products for sale in approximately one year’s time.  In addition, the sale of edible cannabis products is in contravention of the BC Food Premises Regulation, B.C. Reg. 2010 99. 

How does the legalization of recreational cannabis relate to cannabis for medical purposes?

The current regime for medical cannabis will continue to allow access to cannabis for people who have been authorized by their healthcare provider.

For more information about cannabis for medical purposes, please consult the following website:

Can I produce cannabis on ALR land?

The use of ALR land for producing cannabis lawfully cannot be prohibited if grown outside in a field, or inside a structure with a soil base. Please see Section 2(8) of the Agricultural Land Reserve Use Regulation for more information.

What are the security requirements for a cannabis production facility?

Health Canada’s physical security requirements for a cannabis production facility depend on several factors, and can be found here:

Will I be able to have a say about how cannabis is regulated in Sooke?

Yes! While the District has now adopted Bylaw No. 730 to permit Cannabis Retail Stores, it will be addressing Cannabis Production in the near future.

Please monitor this webpage for updates, or feel free to contact Nicholas Deibler, Planner 1, at for more information about how to get involved.