Revelstoke city staff have proposed amendments to four bylaws that will regulate cannabis sales, production and consumption in the city when federal legalization comes Oct. 17.
At their Sept. 18 council meeting Daniel Sturgeon, of development services, presented staff recommendations for amendments to the zoning bylaw, the business license bylaw, the fees and charges bylaw as well as the clean air bylaw.
These amendments will replace the city’s current interim ban on cannabis production and sales.
“The intention with this whole cannabis process was to develop our own Revelstoke specific regulations for business and consumption in preparation for Canada wide legalization,” Sturgeon said.
On a nation-wide level, the federal government is in charge of regulating production including advertising and health and safety standards. They have also created the criminal prohibitions legal possession amounts.
Each province sets the legal age, 19 in B.C., oversees retail sales and trains the RCMP.
On a municipal level the city can regulate where retail stores and commercial production is permitted, the hours of operation of a retail store, where cannabis can be consumed and the application and licensing fees.
In the currently proposed amendments, residents are allowed to grow their four cannabis plants outdoors on their property, but out of sight.
Retail stores will be allowed in C1, C2, C4, C6, C6A, C7 and C11 zones but must be 100 metres apart in the downtown core and 300 metres apart in the permitted zones outside of that.
“The first store will establish the 100 m buffer from store to store to store,” Sturgeon said.
Production facilities will be permitted in M1 and M2 zones, with a 15 metre set back from the property line if the neighbours are residences.
Sturgeon said they didn’t include the M3, heavy industrial, zones because they wanted to preserve those areas for necessary services like cement production, waste management, recycling and gravel production.
The framework recommends the same hours of operation for cannabis retail stores as are in place for liquor stores, 9 a.m.-11 p.m.
People applying for production business licenses will have to provide a professional report on odour management as well as other discharges and those reports will be required yearly with the business license renewal.
“There has been complaints in facilities in the Lower Mainland, that are right now producing medical marijuana, of odour and we wanted to make sure we avoided that,” Sturgeon said.
When it comes to fees and charges for applications and licenses, Sturgeon said the process, and charges, will be similar to private liquor store applications–there is both a process with the province and the municipality.
“We are not trying to make this onerous,” Sturgeon said. “The intent is to welcome these new businesses into the community with the same degree of over site that we give other businesses.”
For a retail application requiring public consultation and/or approval by council the fee is suggested at $1,000. If no public consultation or resolution is required the suggested fee is $250.
For a production facility notification, the fee is suggested at $250.
A cannabis retail license could come in at $200. A production facility business license is recommended at $1,000.
The cannabis framework also included an amendment to the city’s Clean Air Bylaw.
City staff proposed a strict approach to avoid complaints.
“It’s a difficult issue to deal with because of the enforcement challenges behind it,” Sturgeon said.
The recommended amendments include banning consumption in all areas of public parks, including roads and parking lots, however, use is allowed in privately rented camp sites in the current version of the amendments.
Mayor Mark McKee expressed concern about this.
“I have a little bit of a concern with that,” McKee said. “I think that the campgrounds should be classified as a park and the whole thing should be no cannabis.”
However, city council approved first and second reading of the four amendments. A public hearing is scheduled for Oct. 9 where residents can voice their opinions on the bylaws.
The framework was put together by city staff with the help of consultants as well as feedback from the community.