Cannabis Production, Distribution & Sales

On October 17, 2018, the Federal Government legalized recreational cannabis (marijuana). It can be difficult to get a complete understanding of this change, given that there are three levels of government (federal, provincial and local) involved in the process. This overview will inform you of the current issues, provide information regarding what View Royal’s current approach is, what future options are available to the Town, and how you can get involved and have your say.

Q: How is each level of government involved in the legalization of recreational cannabis?

Federal Government

The federal government is responsible for setting the requirements for producers growing and manufacturing cannabis, establishing industry-wide rules and standards including types of cannabis permitted for sale, packaging, labelling and promotional requirements, serving sizes, potency, prohibiting certain ingredients, and tracking of seeds. Additionally it will be responsible for setting minimum age limits for sales and consumption, with an emphasis on avoiding packaging and promotions which appeal to youth.

Provincial Governments

Provincial governments are responsible for regulating the distribution of recreational cannabis, including licensing distributors and retailers, setting more restrictive age restrictions and possession limits if they see fit, setting additional regulation for home growing, and restricting where consumption can take place.

Local Governments

View Royal is a municipal (local) government. Local governments’ primary consideration is zoning; regulating land use for production, processing and sale of cannabis products, including home growing. Also of consideration is business licensing, building code adherence, fire safety and safe premises bylaws, signage issues, and enforcement considerations.

Q: Will recreational cannabis dispensaries start showing up in the Town after October 17, 2018?

Not legally, and the Town does not anticipate it. In order to legally open a recreational cannabis dispensary, the retailer must first obtain a license to do so from the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch. Part of that process requires that the local government undertake a public process to ensure that the local government has approved the use. In the case of the Town of View Royal, it requires that a rezoning takes place to permit a recreational cannabis retail location, which includes public notification and a public hearing.

Q: What bylaws does View Royal have in place right now?

The Town has taken a cautious approach and has followed recommendations made by the Vancouver Island Local Government Management Association. View Royal has intentionally placed a prohibition on the production, distribution, sale and personal growing of recreational cannabis, within Zoning Bylaw No. 900, 2014:

3.3.2. The following uses and structures are prohibited in all areas within the municipality, except as noted:

k) The production or distribution or sale of recreational marijuana, including the growing of marijuana plants for personal recreational use.

 The reasoning behind the prohibition has been to give the Town of View Royal ample time to fully understand the provincial and federal legislation when adopted, and to consult with residents, the business community, schools, public safety officials, potential retailers and other stakeholders.

Q: How do I learn more and have my say?

Currently the Town is compiling a list of interested individuals and organizations who wish to be kept informed of this process. If you want to be on that list, please send an email to planning@viewroyal.ca or call 250-708-2254. No names or contact information will be shared or published.

Q: What are the next steps for the Town?

The Public Engagement process will inform the Town of View Royal’s Mayor and Council before any decisions are made regarding potentially permitting any production, distribution, sale, or home growing of recreational cannabis in View Royal. Regular visits to www.viewroyal.ca can keep stakeholders and otherwise interested parties informed of all current events, notices, public meetings of Council, Committees and all other Town activities.

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