The CRD will be hosting a public hearing regarding cannabis production on Thursday, Aug. 8 as it moves to adopt changes in its bylaws and policies. Black Press file image

Cannabis production focus of upcoming CRD public hearing

Medical marijuana production in heavy industrial zones has been allowed since 2014

The Cariboo Regional District wants to hear from the public on proposed amendments to permit federally-licensed cannabis production facilities within heavy industrial zones.

“We are open to having cannabis retail sales and production within the regional district, but for now we want to keep production to heavy industrial zones and we want to be able to consider cannabis retail stores individually,” said CRD Chair Margo Wagner.

“Depending on the interest and feedback we hear from interested producers and retailers, we may look at changes down the road, but this gives us a good foundation to manage cannabis for now.”

There will be a public hearing on Thursday, Aug. 8, regarding amending those cannabis-related definitions in CRD zoning and rural land use bylaws. It will be at 7 p.m. in the boardroom at the CRD Williams Lake Office (Suite D, 180 North Third Ave.).

Members of the public are invited to provide verbal comments at the public hearing or send written submissions 48 hours ahead of the public meeting. Email written submissions to planning@cariboord.ca or drop them off at one of the CRD’s offices.

The proposed cannabis related bylaw amendments will not restrict the consumption or growing of cannabis for personal use as authorized and regulated by federal and provincial laws and in terms of selling cannabis, retail sales of cannabis will be considered on a site-specific basis, requiring individual zoning amendment applications in accordance with the CRD’s Non-Medical Cannabis Retail Sales Policy.

“The definition changes in our bylaws will clarify where cannabis production can happen in the CRD,” said Havan Surat, CRD manager of development services. “For retail sales, we have a new policy where cannabis retail stores will be evaluated on a case by case basis in commercial zones through a site-specific rezoning application.”

The CRD Board adopted its policy concerning non-medical cannabis retails sales on June 7, 2019. The policy outlines the process for when the CRD receives cannabis retail sales referrals from the BC Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch. CRD staff and the Board will use the evaluation criteria in the policy for considering cannabis retail sales applications and each proposed location will need to apply for site-specific rezoning.

“There is a variety of criteria we will use to consider cannabis retail stores. For instance, the policy outlines that cannabis retail locations must be 300 metres from day cares, community care facilities, hospitals, libraries, parks, playgrounds, schools and other cannabis retail sales establishments,” Surat added.

Anyone who wishes to establish a non-medical cannabis retail store in the regional district needs to apply to the BC Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch (LCRB) for licensing. The Province will refer the application to the CRD, and staff will then initiate the rezoning requirement.

The CRD’s fees for processing retail sales referrals received from the LCRB will vary between $700 to $1,900 depending on the application type and whether rezoning or an Official Community Plan amendment is required. The CRD’s proposed licensing fees bylaw has passed first and second reading and is anticipated to be on the Board’s Sept. 13 agenda for third reading and adoption.

Find more information about non-medical cannabis retail sales and production in the CRD at cariboord.ca/cannabis. Information on the public hearing is posted at cariboord.ca/public-hearing-notices.

Written comments may be submitted to planning@cariboord.ca up to 48 hours before the public hearing.

Members of the public may also submit verbal comments at the public hearing.

Additional details and notice of the public hearing can be found here: www.cariboord.ca/news/public-hearing-notices.



news@wltribune.com

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