February 1, 2018
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
City looking for feedback on regulations related to the legalization of cannabis
Feedback form will be mailed out the week of February 12th
Nelson, BC –Residents and businesses in Nelson are being asked for their input on future zoning and business licence regulations related to legalization of cannabis within city limits. These regulations, along with provincial and federal laws, will control the future of retail outlets, public consumption and personal cultivation of cannabis.
“The federal government has indicated cannabis could be legalized by July 2018. It is important that council hears from our residents on this matter as soon as possible”, says Mayor Deb Kozak. “Council is committed to ensuring that residents and businesses have a voice in the development of municipal cannabis regulations.”
All residences and businesses will receive a feedback form in the mail the week of February 12th. A pre-paid envelope will be enclosed with each feedback form to encourage people to fill out the form and return it free-of-charge. All forms must be returned by February 28th by mail or dropped off at City Hall.
Staff will be hosting a number of public engagement events to gather feedback.
Upcoming events include:
- City Hall, 310 Ward Street on the 2nd floor: February 20 & 22, 2018 from Noon to 1:00pm and 4:00 to 6:00pm (both days)
- Whitewater Ski Resort on Friday, February 16th starting at 10:00am
- Kootenay Co-op – February 24, 2018 from 10:00am till 12:30pm
- Chahko-Mika Mall: Saturday, February 24, 2018 from 1:00pm till 3:00pm
City staff will be meeting with key stakeholder groups including the business community, health practitioners, the social sector, law enforcement, cannabis industry, youth, schools, parents, and seniors to get specific feedback relevant to their interests.
What challenges exist for legalization?
Cannabis will be legal for recreational use in Canada as early as July 2018. The provincial and federal governments will make many of the decisions surrounding cannabis legalization. As of December 2017, the Province of British Columbia has determined that the minimum age to possess, purchase and consume non-medical cannabis will be set at 19, and cannabis will be sold in both publicly and privately-owned retail locations. Additional information from the Province is anticipated early this year.
At the municipal and regional level, local governments are responsible for regulation of some aspects of the cannabis legalization including zoning and business licensing.
With respect to the legalization of cannabis, the role of local government includes:
Retail Sales: Zoning and business licensing to determine where cannabis stores may be located.
Public Consumption: Identifying where consuming cannabis will be legally allowed in Nelson.
Personal Cultivation At Home: Providing rules to ensure public safety and limited nuisances (such as odours and visibility).
The challenge for the City of Nelson is to develop timely zoning and other regulations that are acceptable to our community and that meet the requirements of federal and provincial legislation and objectives. This includes the number and most suitable locations for retail cannabis stores, where consumption can and cannot take place, as well as where it can be grown or visible to the public. A further challenge is that the Province has not yet identified their regulations and what minimum standards they will set. However, it is clear that the City of Nelson will have the ability to determine location, public consumption and some aspects of personal cultivate.
“While provincial regulations are still unknown, understanding what residents of Nelson would like in different scenarios will help the city prepare for legalization within the short timeframe”, says Manager of Development Services, Pam Mierau.
The City of Nelson is taking several steps to ensure that zoning, business licenses and possibly Clean Air Bylaw amendments meet the needs of the community. Steps include:
- Council implemented a moratorium on recreational cannabis outlets until both provincial and Nelson’s regulations have been put in place (January 8, 2018);
- The City will seek feedback from the public over the course of the month of February on areas that local government can regulate (retail outlets, public consumption, and personal cultivation);
- The City and Council will develop and implement regulations to best meet the communities’ desires and at the same time achieve objectives established by the federal and provincial governments.
To learn more, visit the City’s website at www.nelson.ca/cannabis.
Pam Mierau, Manager of Development Services - email@example.com / 250-352-8217