Recreational cannabis legalization day in Canada, Oct. 17, is now less than a month away, and a the Revelstoke city council table plans for local rules are taking shape, with the target to complete bylaw amendments and adopt appropriate bylaws by legalization day.
The results of a recent Revelstoke survey on the new cannabis show there is strong support for cannabis-related businesses, but survey respondents also want to ensure limited access to youth. Federally the legal age to access cannabis products is set at 18, but provinces have the ability to set their own age requirements. In B.C., the provincial government has set the legal age of consumption and purchasing at 19 years old.
During a presentation to Revelstoke city council on Tuesday, Sept. 18, city planner Daniel Sturgeon said 857 people filled out a recent community survey on cannabis. Among the top concerns was the buffering between cannabis businesses and services catering to youth, concerns over cannabis business clustering, and the issue of odors from second-hand smoke.
(Read the City of Revelstoke cannabis bylaw report here. For background documents and maps on where retailing and commercial production will be allowed, see this link.)
Revelstoke city council passed a number of bylaw amendments in preparation for the legalization of cannabis. During the meeting council passed the following motions:
-First and second readings of zoning amendment bylaw 2236 with a public hearing set for Tuesday, Oct. 9.
-First and second readings of Business Licensing & Regulation Amendment Bylaw 2237.
-First, second and third readings of Fees and Charges Amendment Bylaw 2238.
-The council report and bylaws titled Cannabis Regulatory Framework dated Sept. 18, 2018 are to be referred to the economic development commission and the advisory planning commission to review and provide response by Sept. 25.
What are the proposed rules around key community concerns?
Specific regulations for Revelstoke include:
-A 100-metre buffer zone between cannabis related businesses and services that cater to youth such as schools, parks, and other youth-oriented services.
-A 100-metre buffer zone between cannabis businesses in the central business district (downtown Revelstoke)
-A 300-metre buffer between cannabis businesses in commercial zones outside of the central business district.
-Hours of operation to be the same as liquor stores (9 a.m.–11 p.m.)
-Business licensing requirements to be the same as for liquor establishments.
“How we approve liquor primary right now is effectively how we will approve cannabis retail stores,” said city planner Daniel Sturgeon. “The applicant will go to the province and that application will get referred to local government at which time it will be brought to council for consideration.”
The city is also able to restrict where cannabis can be consumed through its clean air bylaws. City staff recommended the clean air bylaw be amended to prohibit smoking of cannabis in all areas of city parks including park roads and parking lots, but not including a rented private camping site.
Council raised some concern over allowing smoking of cannabis in campgrounds at Williamson’s Lake due to the close proximity to the playground, beach and public picnic area. Mayor Mark McKee said he felt the smoking of cannabis should be prohibited on the entire Williamson Lake property. Sturgeon said it is difficult to strike a balance. It’s likely concerns over cannabis consumption at Williamson’s Lake will come up during a public hearing set for Tuesday, Oct 9 at 3 p.m.