The Government of Canada legalized the recreational use of cannabis in October 2018, and certain federal changes allow provincial and local governments to regulate the sale of recreational cannabis. Municipalities oversee land use and zoning, as well as retail use locations and requirements, which means Port Moody Council can decide whether it will permit cannabis retail stores and, if permitted, whether it will adopt applicable guidelines and regulations. Currently, the retail sale of cannabis is not permitted in Port Moody because it is not a permitted land use in the City’s Zoning Bylaw.
On June 12, 2018, Council passed a motion directing staff to prepare an amendment to the Zoning Bylaw (No. 1890) that would include a definition of “retail cannabis store” and allow for case-by-case consideration of rezoning applications received for the retail sales of cannabis in the City. This is similar to how the City reviews liquor store applications. Future Zoning Bylaw amendments for specific retail locations would require a public hearing, so that public input may be received with each application and considerations may be made with respect to the locations of stores and proximity to schools and parks.
Council also directed staff to:
- prepare guidelines for retail cannabis stores;
- develop a public consultation process as part of a corporate policy regarding cannabis;
- develop a business licence regime for Council consideration regarding retail cannabis sales; and
- prepare an amendment to the City’s Smoking Bylaw (No. 2773), which would prohibit the smoking of cannabis in the City’s hookah lounges.
In November 2018, staff conducted a public consultation plan which included an online survey and open house to seek input into whether cannabis retail stores should be permitted in the City, and if so, which land use regulations and business licence requirements should apply. Staff presented the results of the public consultation at the February 12, 2019 Regular meeting of Council (item 9.2.) including the following information:
Staff also presented a recommended approach based on an analysis of the public consultation. Council referred a report on the recommended approach for cannabis retail sales regulation to a Committee of the Whole meeting for further discussion. This topic was included on the February 26, 2019 Committee of the Whole agenda (Item 6.1).
At the February 26, 2019 Committee of the Whole meeting Council passed the following resolution:
THAT the following approach be endorsed:
- allow retail cannabis stores in the City of Port Moody subject to a successful rezoning application and cannabis retail licence from the Provincial Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch;
- require a 75-metre buffer distance between retail cannabis stores and sensitive uses and define these sensitive uses as: schools, playgrounds, and community centres;
- require the following business licence regulations in addition to the basic Provincial requirements: interior signs informing customers of City smoking restrictions; proof of a monitored security and fire alarm contract, including video surveillance; visually appealing storefronts, consistent with the character of nearby buildings; design elements to help prevent crime, such as clear sightlines, low walls, and landscaping; and adequate lighting within the retail space during and outside of operating hours; and
- permit a maximum of five retail cannabis stores in Port Moody within the first 12 months following the adoption of the Zoning Bylaw Amendment;
AND THAT staff be directed to report back on the necessary Zoning Bylaw amendments and Corporate Policy to implement the endorsed approaches for Council consideration.
At the April 9, 2019 Regular Meeting of Council, City staff presented a report to Council (Item 9.1) regarding bylaw amendments and a draft Corporate Policy to regulate cannabis retail sales in Port Moody:
- Zoning Bylaw (Cannabis Retail Use) amendments for first and second readings (page 115);
- Business Licensing and Regulation Bylaw, 2015, No. 3000 (Cannabis Retail Use) amendments for first, second, and third readings (page 117); and
- A draft Corporate Policy – Cannabis Retail Use for consideration of adoption (page 119).
- Review a map of the 75 meter buffer distance requirement for Cannabis Retail Stores and Sensitive Uses
At the May 14, 2019 Regular Meeting, a public hearing will be scheduled for Council to consider third reading and adoption of Zoning Bylaw amendments pertaining to Cannabis Retail Use. The proposed amendment would define Cannabis Retail Use and exclude this use from the existing definition of Retail. As a result, any proposals for a Retail Cannabis Use would be considered through a site-specific rezoning process. The proposed Zoning Bylaw amendment is accompanied by proposed amendments to the Business Licensing and Regulation Bylaw, 2015, No. 3000 and a Corporate Policy that was adopted by Council on April 9, 2019. The effective date of the Corporate Policy would be consistent with the date of the adoption of the proposed bylaw amendments