The Comox Valley Regional District is considering taking a leaf — pot leaf, that is — from the Town of Comox’s book when it comes to the regulation of recreational cannabis.
The CVRD’s electoral area services committee was presented with a draft bylaw on May 14 to temporarily prohibit the sale and production of recreational cannabis within the regional district’s zones.
Allana Mullaly, the CVRD’s manager of planning services, spoke to the committee on Monday about the ongoing lack of clarity of what marijuana legalization will look like at the provincial and federal level.
She mentioned how municipal governments only got their first look at a provincial framework for recreational cannabis in late April, when two bills were tabled in the legislature.
“We still don’t know what the rules of the game are,” said Mullaly.
“The advice we’ve been hearing… is that if you as a local government feel you might want to regulate the production and or retail of non-medical cannabis in your jurisdiction, you might want to consider adopting an approach now that would essentially buy you time to do that when the provincial legislation is passed.”
The CVRD’s action comes in the wake of the Town of Comox, which passed a similar bylaw last month. The municipality justified the decision, stating it will allow the Town to better plan for the impending legalization of recreational marijuana.
“[This] would give you the time to have the policy conversations among yourselves, consult constituents, and go through the proper rezoning processes that we’d normally do for an issue of this magnitude,” said Mullaly.
After a brief discussion, electoral area services committee members approved staff’s recommendation, which will next go to the CVRD board of directors for further consideration. That body’s next meeting is scheduled for June 5.
The bylaw will also undergo a consultation process with various external agencies, including the RCMP, Island Health, First Nations groups, and the Agricultural Land Commission.
The federal government’s Cannabis Act is expected to come into effect before the end of Summer 2018.