Where will Comox Valley people go to buy their weed?

All local municipalities have bylaws in place that need amending to allow cannabis sales

Comox council came under fire recently, for the introduction of Comox Zoning Amendment Bylaw 1880, which would prohibit the sale of cannabis within the town limits.

According to Comox Mayor Paul Ives, the amendment is being sought to buy time for the Town to plan for the impending legalization of recreational marijuana sales and use.

He told The Record last week the bylaw is the first step of a two-step process. The second step, he explained, will set some parameters around where and when retail sales can occur.

While final reading on the bylaw has been tabled for a couple of weeks, the groundwork for cannabis sales allowance still requires attention in Comox.

How does that differ from the other municipalities in the Comox Valley?

Courtenay

The city has a zoning bylaw in place, prohibiting the sale of marijuana. The bylaw will have to be amended before any retail licences are granted.

According to Mayor Larry Jangula, City staff have been directed to study the issue and present council with a report.

“Right now, our zoning bylaw does not permit the sale of marijuana. It’s currently illegal and that’s always been our position,” he said. “We are waiting for recommendations from staff for the future, but we are still waiting for instructions from senior government. We may go through a whole process and then find out that’s not what the [federal government] wants at all.”

Jangula had no timeline as to when City staff would be bringing recommendations to council. Their concerns are similar to those expressed by Ives.

“We are not really different from [Comox] – I think we feel much the same way,” he said. “We need some instruction. I think we all want to do it right – we all want a system that works for everyone… but at the moment, we don’t know what that is. We are waiting to see what our staff recommends. We are waiting to see what other communities are doing. We are waiting to see what the province is doing and what the feds are doing.”

He said there are far too many unanswered questions at this time – questions that must be addressed by senior government – before entertaining any thoughts of local retail outlets.

“The thing that’s frustrating to me is that the feds want to legalize it without doing a lot of research or thinking about how it is going to be done,”said Jangula. “How is it going to be regulated? Who is going to control it? The province hasn’t done anything yet either. We are still waiting for them. So in the meantime, everybody is coming up with their own rules, and it’s very confusing. Do you have a limit on the number of retailers? Do you control the retailers? Do you put them downtown? Because some of the downtown merchants are alright with it, but a lot of them are not. So there’s all those issues. It would’ve been nice if the feds or the province would’ve given us some leadership on this file.

“Obviously if they push that July 1 date we will have to have something in place… What that will be, I cannot even predict.”

Cumberland

Cumberland already has a bylaw in place prohibiting the sale of marijuana (Zoning Bylaw 1027). Rob Crisfield, manager of operations for the Village, said before any retail operations open in Cumberland, that bylaw will have to be amended.

Mayor Leslie Baird said once legalization is official, she anticipates seeing retail outlets in the village in relatively quick fashion.

“I figure it won’t take long once it’s legalized, but there is a process people will have to follow,” she said. “But we also have to look at what type of legislation is brought in.”

When Cumberland council originally entertained the possibility of medical marijuana outlets, in 2016, the groundwork was laid regarding numbers of retail outlets to be allowed, and specifics regarding proximity to the school, as well as to each other.

“We don’t even know yet whether the federal or provincial law is going to regulate how many [outlets] we have,” said Baird. “So that’s part of what we are waiting to see.”

At that time, Cumberland council was planning to set a limit to two outlets. A total of four companies put forth proposals. Baird said any company interested in opening a retail outlet in Cumberland will have to re-apply.

Other Valley communities

While individual business licences are not required for the other communities in the regional district (i.e. Royston, Merville), the RD does have a prohibitive zoning bylaw in place that will require amendment prior to any retail outlets being approved and any of the outlying areas.

“The CVRD is considering its approach to production and distribution of cannabis as a land use through the ongoing zoning bylaw review,” said Jennifer Steel, manager of corporate communications for the Comox Valley Regional District.

Staff will be presenting a proposed new comprehensive zoning bylaw to the electoral area services committee in May.

The public will have an opportunity to review and comment on the entire proposed new zoning bylaw (including proposed zoning regulations for production and distribution of cannabis) in May.

Note: All local bylaws in place refer to marijuana specifically in the medical context, as that was – and remains – the only legal form of marijuana production and consumption in Canada. Though the bylaws do not address recreational use specifically, they will all have to be amended before any recreational use retail outlets are approved.

Just Posted

Nursing graduates coming to work at Comox Valley, Campbell River hospitals

Twenty-two casual and temporary nurses will be hired

Saratoga Speedway celebrates its 50th opening night of racing May 5

In 1968 the central Vancouver Island communities and business came together to… Continue reading

Cumberland May Day Bean Dinner planned

Labour Minister Harry Bains as guest speaker at annual event

Draft plan for Union Bay coal hills remediation to be submitted this spring

West Fraser Mills is paying for the installation of an engineered membrane

Crowdfunding page created for family of Comox Valley man killed in Peru

A GoFundMe page has been created for the family of Sebastian Woodroffe,… Continue reading

VIDEO: B.C. ‘escapologist’ stuns judges on Britain’s Got Talent

Matt Johnson says televised water stunt was closest he’s come to death

NAFTA talks hold Foreign Affairs Minister in Washington, substitute heads to NATO summit

NAFTA talks keeping Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, sends substitute to NATO summit

Britain gives long-lost Franklin expedition ships to Canada, Inuit

Deeds to HMS Erebus and HMS Terror signed over to Canada and Inuit Heritage Trust

Grief over deadly Toronto van attack sinks in

Three days after rampage, people still gathering at memorial to lay flowers and honour victims

Liberals urged to tax e-commerce services like Netflix

Trudeau has been adamant that his government wouldn’t increase taxes on online subscriptions

Why some B.C. daycares didn’t opt in to subsidy program

Deadline passes for program aimed at laying foundation for universal child care

Charges follow collisions between pickup and police vehicles in Nanaimo

Majore Jackson, 32, and Andrew John Bellwood, 47, from Nanaimo, face numerous charges

WATCH: Moms Stop The Harm respond to opioid crisis

Someone asked her if she does the work for her son. McBain said: “No, actually. I do it for your son.”

Most Read