Background

It is currently illegal to grow, import, process, sell, possess or use cannabis products in Canada, except in the limited context of licensed medical activities. However, the federal government is in the process of adopting the Cannabis Act (Bill C-45) and related impaired driving amendments to the Criminal Code (Bill C-46) that will allow the provinces and local governments to regulate the sale and production of recreational cannabis.

The Province of BC released a position statement on February 5, 2018 on a number of policy areas related to recreational cannabis including home cultivation limits, possession limits, public space consumption and a public/private retail model. The Cannabis Control and Licensing Act (Bill 30), Cannabis Distribution Act (Bill 31) and Motor Vehicle Amendment Act (Bill 17) were introduced on April 26, 2018.

Did you know that once cannabis is legalized…?

  • Individuals aged 19 years and older will be able to possess and purchase up to 30 grams of cannabis.
  • Smoking and vaping cannabis will be prohibited in all public places (parks, playgrounds, recreation facilities and anywhere where children congregate) similar to smoking tobacco.
  • Households will be allowed to grow up to four cannabis plants, but they must not be publically visible.
  • Retail sales will be sold through a combination of public and private retail models handled through the BC Liquor Control and Licensing Branch. 

What is the CVRD doing to regulate cannabis?

In anticipation of the legalization of non-medical cannabis, on June 5, 2018, the CVRD board granted first and second readings to a proposed cannabis prohibition zoning bylaw amendment. The amendment proposes to prohibit 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. 

Timeline

  • June 28, 2018: Public hearing for proposed cannabis prohibition bylaw amendment.
  • July 24, 2018: Proposed Zoning Bylaw Amendment third and final reading at the CVRD Board meeting.
  • October 17, 2018: Federal Regulations to be announced and put into place.

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

Only medical cannabis is currently 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 is in the process of amending 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 regional district 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 BC Tobacco and Vapour Control Act prohibits the smoking and vaping of tobacco in public places including regional parks, playgrounds and public facilities. Once the Cannabis Act is established, the Province will update the regulation to prohibit cannabis smoking and vaping as well.

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 neighbor is growing more than four plants ?

Home cultivation limits will be 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 Area A, B or C. Once legalized, adults 19 and older will be able to grow cannabis at home for personal use, but not for resale. A maximum of four plants will be 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 legalized, as 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?

If approved, the proposed zoning bylaw amendment will prohibit the retail sale of cannabis in Electoral Areas A, B or C. 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 regional district regulations and obtain all necessary licensing from the provincial government. Contact the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch (LCLB), 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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