A new policy is budding around non-medical cannabis retail sales throughout the regional district.
The Cariboo Regional District (CRD) has approved a policy that will evaluate cannabis retail stores outside of municipalities, on a case by case basis in commercial zones, through a site-specific rezoning application.
“The policy that the CRD board has approved is basically to regulate and control cannabis retail sales throughout the district,” said the district’s manager of development services, Havan Surat.
The policy also outlines that cannabis retail locations must be 300 metres from daycares, community care facilities, hospitals, libraries, parks, playgrounds, schools and other cannabis retail stores.
“We are doing the policy to test the water,” Surat said.
Anyone who wishes to establish a non-medical cannabis retail store in the regional district needs to apply to the BC Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch (LCRB) as licensing is administered by the province. From there, the province will refer applicants to the CRD and staff will then initiate the rezoning requirement.
“It’s hard to say how this will benefit the regional district,” said Surat. “It could bring some good economic benefits to our region but it is too early to determine that.”
In terms of 100 Mile House, Surat said all applications specific to the community will go through the District of 100 Mile Council members and not the CRD.
According to Mayor Mitch Campsall, the CRD’s policy won’t have an influence on the community.
“We have to have our own bylaws that are separate because we are two different entities,” he said. “The municipality has been working on making sure what we decide to do is within our guidelines.”
The application process is a long one. It could be some time before the regional district sees its first cannabis retail store sprout up within the district.
“Our retail stores will be within the downtown shopping area, whereas the retail stores in the district won’t necessarily be,” said Campsall.
As everything falls into place regarding dispensaries in 100 Mile House, the council will be seeking the public’s input before moving forward.
In terms of the production of cannabis in the regional district, the CRD is updating zoning bylaws to address it. There will be a public hearing on the proposed changes ahead of the adoption of the zoning bylaws.
The board will consider public feedback during the hearing for each proposed location.