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 proposed Official Community Plan Amendment and Zoning Bylaw Amendment were given First and Second Reading by Council on July 22, and a public hearing will be held for these amendments on September 16, 2019. If adopted, these amendments would permit cannabis production in certain industrial zones, allow Temporary Use Permits for micro-scale cannabis production in certain rural and commercial zones, and regulate other aspects of these facilities. Please monitor this webpage for updates on these amendments, and information on the public hearing.
If you have questions/comments please contact Ivy Campbell at firstname.lastname@example.org
Chronology of Events:
- Cannabis for recreational purposes – Council Report (November 26, 2018)
- Cannabis Retail 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 Second Reading (February 25, 2019)
- Bylaw No. 730 – Second reading rescinded, then given with the addition of use to C4 zone (March 25, 2019)
- Bylaw No. 730 – Public Hearing and Third reading given (April 8, 2019)
- Bylaw No. 730 – Adopted (May 13, 2019)
- Cannabis Production – Targeted stakeholder engagement (early May 2019)
- Survey on cannabis production conducted June 3 – June 24, 2019
- Cannabis Production – Report for Information to Council (May 27, 2019)
- Cannabis Production – Updated Report for Information to Council (June 10, 2019)
- Cannabis Production, Official Community Plan Amendment Bylaw No. 742 (400-13) and Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 741 (600-73), Report and First and Second Reading (July 22, 2019)
- Cannabis Production, Official Community Plan Amendment Bylaw No. 742 (400-13) and Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 741 (600-73), Public Hearing and adoption (September 16, 2019)
- Official Community Plan Amendment Bylaw No. 742 (400-13) and Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 741 (600-73) – Adopted (September 16, 2019)