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






Chronology of Events:

  1. Cannabis for recreational purposes – Council Report (November 26, 2018)
  2. Retail Cannabis 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 2nd Reading (February 25, 2019)
  5. Bylaw No. 730 – 2nd reading rescinded, then given with the addition of use to C4 zone (March 25, 2019)
  6. Bylaw No. 730 – Public Hearing and 3rd reading given (April 8, 2019)
  7. Bylaw No. 730 – Adopted by Council (May 13, 2019)
  8. Cannabis Production – targeted stakeholder engagement (early May 2019)
  9. Cannabis Production – report to Council (May 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. 

Accordion Panel

The District of Sooke is currently moving forward with proposed Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 730, which would limit the locations in which Cannabis Retail Stores are permitted to the existing three locations. This bylaw amendment will have a public hearing, likely in early March. Please monitor this webpage for updates, or feel free to contact Nicholas Deibler, Planner 1, at

For more information about Provincial licensing for retail stores please consult the following website:

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:

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! Proposed Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 730, which addresses Cannabis Retail Stores, will have a public hearing. This will likely occur in early March. Please monitor this webpage for updates, or feel free to contact Nicholas Deibler, Planner 1, at