What is the CVRD doing to regulate cannabis?

In anticipation of the legalization of non-medical cannabis, the CVRD board adopted an amendment to the zoning bylaw on July 24, 2018. The amendment prohibits the production and retail sale of cannabis, while maintaining the existing enabling framework for medical cannabis which requires a rezoning in areas subject to policies in the Official Community Plan. 

What does this mean to you?

As of October 17, 2018 it is now legal to possess, purchase and consume non-medical cannabis in Canada. The Province of BC has established legislative framework for the legalization of non-medical cannabis, through the Cannabis Control and Licensing Act (CCLA).

The Cannabis Control and Licensing Act provides regulation for legal, controlled access to non-medical cannabis in British Columbia. The legislation and the consequential legislative amendments ensure that a regulatory framework is in place that will allow the province and local governments to regulate the sale and production of recreational cannabis.

The Cannabis Control and Licensing Act also includes consequential amendments to various statutes, including:

  • Liquor Control and Licensing Act to ensure administrative consistency between that Act and the Cannabis Control and Licensing Act;
  • Retail sales will be sold through a combination of public and private retail models handled through the BC Liquor & Cannabis Regulation Branch 
  • Residential Tenancy Act and Manufactured Home Park Tenancy Act to prohibit cannabis smoking under existing leases that prohibit smoking tobacco and to prohibit the personal cultivation of cannabis under existing leases, except for federally authorized medical cannabis. For new leases, the existing provisions of each Act that allow landlords and tenants to negotiate the terms of leases will apply;
  • Police Act to set provincial priorities for policing and require municipal police boards to take provincial priorities and the priorities of the municipal council into account as they develop their own priorities;
  • Community Safety Act to reflect that with legalization cannabis will no longer be a controlled substance under the federal Controlled Drugs and Substances Act;
  • Provincial Sales Tax Act to add a reference to cannabis in the definition of “small seller” consistent with liquor; and
  • Business Practices and Consumer Protection Act to recognize that the CCLA is a complete licensing scheme.

Please visit CCLA and non-medical Cannabis in BC or the Government of Canada “get the facts” on Cannabis in Canada for more information.

The following regulatory decisions are included in the legislation and amendments:

  • Sets 19 as the provincial minimum age to purchase sell or consume cannabis;
  • Allows adults to possess up to 30 grams of cannabis in a public place;
  • Prohibits cannabis smoking and vaping everywhere tobacco smoking and vaping are prohibited, as well as at playgrounds, sports fields, skate parks, and other places where children commonly gather;
  • Prohibits the use of cannabis on school properties and in vehicles;
  • Authorizes adults to grow up to four cannabis plants per household, but the plants must not be visible from public spaces off the property, and home cultivation will be banned in homes used as day-cares;
  • Establishes a cannabis retail licensing regime similar to the current licensing regime for liquor;
  • Provides enforcement authority to deal with illegal sales;
  • Creates a number of provincial cannabis offences which may result in a fine ranging from $2,000 to $100,000, imprisonment of three to 12 months, or both; and
  • Where necessary, to comply with Charter Rights and Human Rights Law, exemptions will be provided to individuals who are federally authorized to purchase, possess and consume medical cannabis.

 

Frequently Asked Questions
I thought cannabis was already legal. What is happening now?

Prior to October 17, 2018 only medical cannabis was legal. The medical cannabis program will continue to be in place until it is re-evaluated within the next five years. For more information on medical cannabis visit:

What is the CVRD doing about cannabis legalization?

The CVRD amended its Zoning Bylaw to prohibit non-medical cannabis production and retail sales in Electoral Areas A, B and C.  Any cannabis production or retail sales proposal would have to undergo a Rezoning or Temporary Use Permit application. This would allow a site specific review to determine if the location and use is appropriate. The public would be able to provide input and comment on the application and proposed use at the time of the application. 

Will there be business licenses issued in the CVRD?

No, the CVRD does not issue business licenses. Instead, the CVRD will use zoning as the tool to review and regulate cannabis retail sales in the Electoral Areas.

Will residents be allowed to smoke cannabis in public places?

No, the Cannabis Control and Licensing Act prohibits the smoking and vaping of tobacco in public places including regional parks, playgrounds and public facilities. 

Who do I contact at the CVRD regarding a complaint about cannabis odour?

In certain situations the CVRD may be able to have odour mitigated by using the unsightly premises and nuisance bylaw. Please contact bylaw compliance to submit a question or complaint.

Who do I contact if I suspect my neighbour is growing more than four plants?

Home cultivation limits are set by the province and enforced by the RCMP. Contact the RCMP at 250-338-1321 if you have any concerns.

Where will cannabis be allowed to be grown in the CVRD once legal?

At this time, no commercial production of recreational use cannabis is permitted in Electoral Areas A, B or C.  Adults 19 and older will be able to grow cannabis at home for personal use, but not for resale. A maximum of four plants is permitted by federal and provincial law.

Where can I purchase recreational cannabis in the CVRD?

Currently, there are no approved retail locations in the Electoral Areas A, B or C. Once applications are received, the CVRD will review and process applications on a case-by-case basis. Members of the public will have the opportunity to provide input on an application at the time of rezoning or through the Temporary Use Permit process.

Will ‘edibles’ (cannabis food products) be legal?

The federal government has announced that edible cannabis products will become legal within 12 months of the Cannabis Act coming into force.

Who is enforcing the new cannabis regulations?

In most situations, it will be the RCMP who will enforce cannabis regulations and laws. Contact the RCMP at 250-338-1321 if you have a concern.

As a general rule, local governments can regulate certain land uses or activities. Contact CVRD bylaw compliance to submit a question or complaint.

I want to open a cannabis retail location, whom should I contact?

The CVRD prohibits the retail sale of cannabis in Electoral Areas A, B or C without proper zoning. Individuals interested in opening a cannabis retail location will have to apply for a Rezoning or a Temporary Use Permit. All cannabis related businesses will have to comply with federal, provincial and CVRD regulations and obtain all necessary licensing from the provincial government. Contact the BC Liquor & Cannabis Regulation Branch, who are responsible for the licensing and monitoring of the cannabis retail sector. The rules governing retail stores will be similar to those currently in place for liquor and public and private retailers will have similar operating rules.

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