The Cariboo Regional District continues to adopt changes in its policies and bylaws to account for the legalization of cannabis retail sales and production.
Overall, the CRD’s intent is to allow cannabis production in areas that are zoned as heavy industrial and to evaluate cannabis retail stores on a case by case basis, by having each proposed store apply for a zoning amendment.
“We are open to having cannabis retail sales and production within the regional district, but for now we want to keep production to heavy industrial zones and we want to be able to consider cannabis retail stores individually,” said CRD Chair Margo Wagner, in a news release. “Depending on the interest and feedback we hear from interested producers and retailers, we may look at changes down the road, but this gives us a good foundation to manage cannabis for now.”
The CRD has allowed medical marijuana production in heavy industrial zones since 2014. Now, the CRD is planning to permit all types of federally-licensed cannabis facilities within heavy industrial zones.
There will be a public hearing on Thursday, Aug. 8, regarding amending those cannabis-related definitions in CRD zoning and rural land use bylaws. It will be at 7 p.m. in the boardroom at the CRD Williams Lake Office (Suite D, 180 North Third Ave.). Members of the public are invited to provide verbal comments at the public hearing or send written submissions 48 hours ahead of the public meeting. Email written submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org or drop them off at one of the CRD’s offices.
“The definition changes in our bylaws will clarify where cannabis production can happen in the CRD,” said Havan Surat, CRD manager of development services. “For retail sales, we have a new policy where cannabis retail stores will be evaluated on a case by case basis in commercial zones through a site-specific rezoning application.”
The CRD Board adopted its policy concerning non-medical cannabis retails sales on June 7, 2019. The policy outlines the process for when the CRD receives cannabis retail sales referrals from the BC Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch. CRD staff and the Board will use the evaluation criteria in the policy for considering cannabis retail sales applications and each proposed location will need to apply for site-specific rezoning.
“There is a variety of criteria we will use to consider cannabis retail stores. For instance, the policy outlines that cannabis retail locations must be 300 metres from daycares, community care facilities, hospitals, libraries, parks, playgrounds, schools and other cannabis retail sales establishments,” Surat said.
Anyone who wishes to establish a non-medical cannabis retail store in the regional district needs to apply to the BC Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch (LCRB) for licensing. The Province will refer the application to the CRD, and staff will then initiate the rezoning requirement.
The CRD’s fees for processing retail sales referrals received from the LCRB will vary between $700 to $1,900 depending on the application type and whether rezoning or an Official Community Plan amendment is required. The CRD’s proposed licensing fees bylawhas passed first and second reading and is anticipated to be on the Board’s Sept. 13 agenda for third reading and adoption.