Updated: City seeks input on local cannabis regulation planning

Federal legalization of recreational marijuana begins October 17, 2018

Cannabis plants. Photo: James St. John via Flickr Creative Commons Licence https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

A community survey on cannabis regulations in the City of Revelstoke is proving to be popular with approximately 300 responses in just one day. Nigel Whitehead, director of development services, told Revelstoke city council there has been great feedback from the public.

Mayor Mark McKee said the city wants to align with the federal approval date of Oct. 17, 2018, barring any problems along the way.

With federal legalization of recreational cannabis just around the corner, the city of Revelstoke is embarking on a process to develop local regulations for medical and non-medical sales.

As part of that process the city is seeking input from residents via a community survey with questions related to their thoughts on cannabis regulation in the city. The survey is currently available on the city’s website and is also available in hard copy from the Development Services Department at 216 Mackenzie Avenue. Residents have until Sept. 10 at 4 p.m. to complete the survey.

A statement posted on the city’s website said the intent of the project is to get ahead of impending legalization and ensure proper zoning and associated regulation, including business licensing and clean air bylaw, is in place for cannabis-related businesses. Regulations will cover where cannabis-related businesses can locate as well as additional requirements for municipal approval such as buffers from facilities catering to youth, application processing fees and distances from other cannabis-related businesses.  It will also cover zoning for medical marijuana sales and production which is not currently included in the city’s zoning bylaw.

The city’s development services department has received several enquiries from companies and individuals wishing to operate cannabis retail stores in the city. The city says it expects the demand for business licenses could be high. Dawn Low, director of corporate administration, said the city has received between seven and 10 enquiries about cannabis related businesses over the past several years.

The city is limited in what it is able to regulate but is able to set requirements on where cannabis can be cultivated; limiting hours cannabis retail stores can operate; establishing local zoning rules; restricting where cannabis can be consumed, and; charging applicants fees to assess applications.

With federal legalization coming up quickly, the city has developed a timeline to develop and enact local legislation. Community engagement is part of the process. Here are some key dates Revelstoke residents may want to be aware of:

-Community Survey: August 27–September 10 at 4 p.m.

-Council Meeting (1st and 2nd Reading at set Public Hearing Date): September 18, 2018.

-Public Hearing and third reading: October 9, 2018.

-Special Council Meeting (Adopt regulations) October 11, 2018.

More information on the planning project can be found here.