Cannabis: council passes moratorium after public hearing

The ban on cannabis businesses extends to July and does not include current medical dispensaries

Only two people presented their views at a public hearing held by city hall on Monday to get the public’s reaction to a proposed moratorium on recreational cannabis sales. Both presentations took less than one minute.

Brenton Raby said he supports the moratorium. He said he hopes the city will change its terminology by replacing the word “marijuana” with the word “cannabis.”

Herb Couch said he is pleased that the moratorium does not include medical cannabis.

“And I think it is great that there will be a public consultation process,” said. “I thank council for that.”

At its regular meeting later in the evening, council adopted its new zoning amendment bylaw, which it had first presented at its Dec. 4 meeting.

The amendment bylaw defines “cannabis business” as “the cultivating, growing, producing, packaging, storing, distributing, dispensing, advertising, trading or selling of cannabis (marijuana) or its derivatives but excludes City approved cannabis related businesses.”

The bylaw amendment goes on to include cannabis businesses as a prohibited use in all zones of the city.

This move to regulate recreational cannabis sales is unrelated to the current six licensed medical cannabis dispensaries in the city and will not affect them. The bylaw amendment is aimed at potential recreational cannabis businesses.

The purpose of the moratorium is to prevent anyone from opening up a recreational cannabis business in Nelson before federal and provincial rules are made known in the summer, and before council has carried out a public consultation process that will start this month.

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