Retail Cannabis in Kamloops
To talk about cannabis locally, the topic first needs to be put into a federal and provincial context to understand the responsibilities of each government.
Federal, provincial and territorial governments share responsibility for overseeing the proposed new system.
The federal Cannabis Act - Bill C-45 received Royal Assent on June 21, 2018, setting the stage for the production, distribution, sale, possession, and consumption of non-medical cannabis, beginning October 17, 2018.
The Federal Government will be responsible for licensing and monitoring cannabis producers and for setting industry-wide rules and standards for the cultivation, processing, packaging and advertising of non-medical cannabis.
Provinces and territories control the distribution and retail sales of non-medical cannabis within their jurisdictions. The BC Provincial Government has appointed the Liquor Distribution Branch (LDB) to be the exclusive wholesale distributor of non-medical cannabis, while retail sales will be offered to the public through a combination of government and private owned stores, as well as online through the government site.
For more information, visit the Provincial cannabis retail sales webpage.
Municipal governments can regulate retail locations through their zoning authority and some aspects of retail operations through their business licencing authority. Municipal governments may also support the Federal and Provincial governments with public education and the enforcement of cannabis rules and regulations.
In an effort to keep pace with federal and provincial regulations, the City of Kamloops has amended its Business Licence Bylaw and its Zoning Bylaw. There are four zones in which non-medical cannabis retail stores may be located. View the proposed report that was provided to Council in April 2018.
The City participates on the Joint Provincial-Local Government Committee on Cannabis Regulation (JCCR), whose mandate is to provide a forum for timely and effective communication and consultation between local governments and the Province in the development of the provincial regulatory framework for legalized non-medical cannabis. The City’s participation on the JCCR ensures that it has the most up-to-date information concerning the provincial non-medical cannabis licensing process, which will assist in the development of a local application process that is both fair and equitable.
Additional City bylaw changes will be forthcoming to create the non-medical cannabis licensing application process, business licensing requirements, and other required local regulations. These bylaw changes will be coordinated with the provincial regulatory system, once that process is finalized.
In July, the BC Attorney General announced that BC’s First Government-owned cannabis store will be located in Kamloops BC within the Columbia Place Shopping Centre. The selection of this location was based on a number of factors, including municipal readiness for the zoning of cannabis retail operations and site suitability.
The Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch (LCRB) is currently considering a number of locations across various municipalities for the roll-out of its other BC Cannabis Stores and is focused on ensuring a careful and efficient roll-out that will provide the best possible customer experience and compliance with all health and safety regulations.
The store will be staffed with approximately 20 employees, which will include a store manager, assistant manager and knowledgeable cannabis consultants.
All BC Cannabis Store employees will receive extensive training that will concentrate on social responsibility practices related to safety and responsible adult use, comprehensive product knowledge and customer service skills.
In addition to its brand of retail stores, the LCRB will also offer online sales of non-medical cannabis to ensure that British Columbians have access to cannabis province-wide upon legalization.
The City is currently working on amendments to certain bylaws in anticipation of the upcoming legalization of non-medical cannabis. Regulations will be tailored to best suit our community while working within the federal and provincial legislative frameworks.
The City will not accept applications for private non-medicdal cannabis retail stores until the federal and provincial regulations have been fully implemented.
A Council resolution supporting the site-specific provincial retail sales licence application will be required before the LCRB will issue a licence. Depending on the final contents of the provincial regulations, additional requirements may be imposed as part of the City’s Business Licence approval process.
Additional information is available on the following provincial web pages:
July 2018: On July 11, 2018 the BC Liquor Distribution Board (LDB) announced that Kamloops will be the first location in British Columbia to operate a government-owned cannabis retail outlet.
May 2018: On May 8, 2018, following the public hearing, Council approved the Bylaw amendment for Bylaw No.5-1-2878.
April 2018: On April 17, 2018, a Council report was presented, that proposed Zoning Bylaw amendments for Council’s consideration and recommending that Council proceed to a public hearing on the matter.
December 2017: On December 19, 2017, Council amended the Zoning Bylaw to create definitions for cannabis and retail cannabis sales in anticipation of the federal legalization of non-medical cannabis.
Only medical cannabis is currently legal in Canada. Individuals who have been authorized by their health care practitioner to access cannabis for medical purposes may purchase cannabis from one of the producers licensed by Health Canada.
All storefront cannabis dispensaries are operating in contravention of federal law.
Selling, possessing and consuming cannabis for non-medical purposes remains illegal.
The Cannabis Act – Bill C-45 received Royal Assent on June 21, 2018, setting the stage for the production, distribution, sale, possession, and consumption of non-medical cannabis, beginning October 17, 2018.
As a general rule, municipalities can regulate retail locations through their zoning bylaws and some aspects of retail operations through their business licencing bylaws. Issues pertaining to public consumption and personal growing may also fall within municipal jurisdiction.
The extent of municipal governmental jurisdiction is determined by the Province and the authority granted in the Community Charter and the Local Government Act. Forthcoming provincial decisions may broaden or restrict the scope of what cities like Kamloops will be responsible for regulating at a local level.
Municipal governments may also choose to support the Federal and Provincial governments with public education initiatives, and with the enforcement of certain rules and regulations concerning such matters as:
- New fire and building regulations
- Prohibitions on selling cannabis to minors
- Rules on the consumption of cannabis in public
- Rules on personal cultivation of cannabis
The federal government is involved with most questions around cannabis legalization, such as production, taxation, possession limits, impaired driving, regulatory compliance, and education. It is also establishing minimum regulatory standards that each province may adopt or further restrict.
In addition to their authority to establish age, possession, and personal cultivation regulations are more stringent than those contained in the federal legislation, provinces and territories are responsible for many matters of implementation, such as how and by whom cannabis may be sold and where it may be consumed within their jurisdiction.
The Province of British Columbia has announced that the minimum age to possess, purchase and consume cannabis in BC will be 19, and that cannabis will be sold in both public- and private-owned retail stores, and online through the BC Liquor Distribution Branch’s retail site. In February 2018 the BC Retail Sales framework was released.
The situation is unique in that an entirely new industry is being developed within a very short period of time. It is important for the City of Kamloops to have its own regulations in place at the time of legalization, so that we can ensure that this new industry is introduced in a manner that best meets the needs of all Kamloops residents. This includes determining where retail stores would best be located and whether any business licence restrictions or requirements should be imposed in order to fairly balance community interests.
The City’s Business Licence Department has received a significant number of enquiries from companies and individuals wishing to operate cannabis retail stores in the City, and we expect that demand for business licences will be high. In order to balance competing community interests, the City wants to ensure that its regulations fairly address the needs of retail operators and their neighbours.
The City is developing a business licensing process for private retail cannabis stores. Once the provincial regulations are finalized, the City will determine whether any other bylaws require consideration.
Consumption lounges have not been approved by the Provincial Government at this time. It is anticipated that this will be reviewed in 2019.
Edible cannabis products will not be legal or legally sold in 2018. The federal government has announced that they will become legal in the summer of 2019.
Once legalized on October 17, 2018, adults 19 and older will be able to grow cannabis at home for personal use, but not for resale. A maximum of four plants per household will be permitted by federal and provincial law. Plants must not be visible from a public place. Landlords and strata councils will be authorized to restrict or prohibit non-medical cannabis cultivation.
In BC, all non-medical cannabis products will be distributed through the BC Liquor Distribution Branch. As with alcohol sales, retail businesses will not be permitted to grow their own product or source it from a third-party.
Kamloops will be the first location in BC to have a provincially operated retail outlet.
Most cannabis-related concerns around public health and safety fall under federal and provincial jurisdiction. Both of these levels of government have expressed a clear commitment to harnessing legalization to address existing public health and safety issues with cannabis. This includes legislative restrictions intended to keep cannabis out of the hands of minors and to combat impaired driving. Cannabis is being treated similar to tobacco and alcohol in that branding and advertising will be strictly controlled, and impaired driving prohibitions will be imposed both federally and provincially.
Once cannabis is legalized:
- Individuals aged 19 and older will be able to possess up to 30 grams of legal dried cannabis or equivalent in non-dried form, and they will be able to share up to 30 grams with other adults.
- Individuals will be able to purchase cannabis from provincially licensed private retail stores, provincially operated retail stores and from the provincially operated online retail site.
- Public consumption of cannabis in Kamloops will be limited by:
- Provincial Legislation, which prohibits cannabis smoking everywhere that tobacco smoking is prohibited and everywhere that children commonly gather (playgrounds, sports fields, skate parks, etc.); and
- The City’s Parks Regulation By-Law, which prohibits cannabis smoking and vaping in all parks and City facilities; and
- The City’s Clean Indoor Air Bylaw, which prohibits cannabis smoking and vaping within a 7-metre buffer zone of all public entrances to buildings.
- Public intoxication will be prohibited, as will the sale of cannabis to those intoxicated by drugs or alcohol.
No cannabis dispensaries, medical or otherwise, are permitted in Kamloops at this time.
The Province is expected to begin accepting applications for provincial retail sales licenses in late summer 2018. An applicant will have to meet all local, provincial, and federal regulations, and must obtain a resolution from Council supporting the site-specific application. Existing cannabis dispensaries will not be given any priority or preference, and will be required to apply for a provincial licence in the usual course.
Once the federal legislation has been enacted on October 17, 2018, both the provincial and municipal levels of government will need to have regulations in place before cannabis retailers are authorized to operate. The City is currently working on its regulations, and expects to have in place prior to legalization.
Applications can be submitted to the BC Liquor Control and Licensing Branch. The City will not accept applications for non-medical cannabis retail stores prior to the full implementation of federal and provincial regulations. At that time, private operators will be expected to go through the City's official permitting process, not through a delegation to Council.
The Province has announced that it will operate retail cannabis stores. Kamloops will be the location of the first government-owned cannabis store in BC, which will be located within the Columbia Place Shopping Centre.
Where and how many government stores in BC has not been determined at this time.