COURTENAY, B.C- A second municipal government in the Comox Valley is considering restrictions on marijuana sales.
According to agenda documents from the Electoral Services Committee of the Comox Valley Regional District (CVRD), the district is taking a page from the Town of Comox in the face of marijuana legalization in Canada.
On Monday, the committee was presented with a bylaw that would allow for the prohibition of non-medicinal marijuana production and sales in CVRD-zoned areas.
Alana Mullaly, the Manager of Planning Services at the CVRD, said that the committee was supportive, and indicated that the bylaw is now being sent to referral to external agencies, with a public hearing to be planned later in the summer.
She stated that the CVRD was following “general legal advice” for municipal governments to go with a closed-door approach for marijuana sales, until the community has time to “digest” the legislation from the federal government.
“This really isn’t them (the committee), at this point, taking a policy position on whether or not this local government is going to allow production, retail, and wholesale,” said Mullaly.
“Rather, this is just buying them some time. Those provincial bills (on marijuana legalization) were just released publicly on April 26, and the province has been hurrying to meet the federal date, and we are hurrying to make sure we have something in place.”
Mullaly indicated that the bylaw will not equal a permanent ban, with room for producers to apply.
“In the interim, if we had a producer or distributor come forward, and they wanted to site something, once the legislation has passed and it’s lawful, then they would be looking at a site-specific, either a rezoning application or an application for a temporary use permit,” said Mullaly.
“On the path that we’re on now, first and second reading, that would prohibit right across the board, for non-medical marijuana. I expect that we’ll have a much more fulsome conversation with the directors and with the public in the fall and into early winter.”
As for the possibility of a permanent ban, Mullaly indicated that the bylaw would put zoning in place for that to happen.
However, she said that she didn’t get the sense that the community was in favour of a ban, with the approach being taken currently allowing the CVRD to figure out what is wanted.
The recommendations of the Electoral Services Committee will go to the CVRD’s board of directors on June 5.