COMOX, B.C. – With legalized pot legislation coming into effect Oct. 17, the Town of Comox is getting its ducks in order.

Last Wednesday, Comox Council passed amendment bylaws that will pave the way for the potential sale of recreational cannabis in the town.

“We know that the legalization date is set now by the feds as Oct. 17, so we want to be ready in advance of that,” Mayor Paul Ives said.

It was the second of two steps to adapt the town’s bylaws to the recently enacted federal and pending provincial legislation to legalize the use of recreational marijuana.

The next step is a public hearing on Aug. 1 at 7 p.m. to gather feedback from the community.

“We’re looking at the potential for up to three retail locations,” Ives said.

Two of these potential locations identified by the town would include downtown Comox, with another store in a separate commercial area.

“That will be something that we’ll look at further once we have the public hearing,” Ives told MyComoxValleyNow.com. “We’re spot-zoning some commercial areas that meet the certain criteria.”

The province will field any business license applications and will then refer them to the town.

“It’s similar very much to liquor licensing,” Ives explained. “If somebody wants to get a liquor license they have to apply to the province, and then the province refers the application to us, and we take into consideration zoning and other issues.”

Once the zoning bylaw passes, it will limit the sale of recreational pot stores to certain areas of the town’s commercial zone.

Among the concerns raised by residents at a June 14 open house included the maximum number of cannabis stores, their proximity to liquor outlets, and exposure to second-hand marijuana smoke.

Under the Cannabis Control and Licensing Act, pot use is prohibited in the following places: school property, health board property, skating rinks, sports fields, swimming pools, playgrounds, or skate parks, spray pools or wading pools, bus stops, train stations, taxi stands, or ferry docks, parks, inside vehicles or boats, and decks and seating areas.

Looking ahead to the public hearing, Ives said the Town won’t be dealing with anyone’s specific application, but rather to setting ground rules in advance of Oct. 17.

“Anybody who is looking at setting up a store will probably getting their business plan together and trying to secure space for a store, so we want to have those ground rules ready to go,” Ives said.