City of Victoria passes new cannabis retail bylaw

The bylaw is an update to the city’s previous bylaw, which was instated in 2016

The City of Victoria will pass a new bylaw regarding cannabis retail licensing.

In a committee of the whole meeting on Thursday, City staff presented council with an update to its current Cannabis-Related Business Regulation Bylaw to complement the recently-instated provincial Cannabis Control and Licensing Act.

“The bylaw is no longer current, the bylaw now has sections that duplicate or contradict the Act,” explained Monika Fedyezkowsa, legislative and policy analyst. “A review would reflect the city’s more limited role.”

In the new legalized cannabis system, the province and local governments will work hand-in-hand to approve a cannabis storefront.

ALSO READ: Demand for legalized cannabis in early hours draws lineups, heavy web traffic

First, an applicant will send an application to the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch (LCRB). The LCRB will then turn to local governments to approve proper zoning for the retailer. Once the local government has approved this, they notify the LCRB which then determines if the applicant is “fit and proper” by running security screenings and a financial integrity checks.

It is then the city’s turn to provide any further recommendations to the LCRB before final approval.

This was the point that was up for discussion at the committee of the whole meeting; what steps would be taken to make further recommendations to the LCRB.

ALSO READ: Caregivers banned from smoking, growing cannabis around children-in-care

Two options were explored: the first would notify owners and occupants within 100 metres of the proposed site, as well as call for a $750 processing fee.

The second option was similar, with the additional option of having more opportunity for public comment.

After some discussion, council went for the first option.

“I think it would be confusing if we had an opportunity for public comment on this because we’d already have had an option for public comment through the rezoning process,” Mayor Lisa Helps said. ” I’m comfortable with this, and want to see it was moved forward.”

So far the LCRB has referred seven business applications to the City, all of which already have proper retail zoning.

The bylaw will be adopted at the Nov. 22 city council meeting.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com


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