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Cannabis Legalization


Cannabis Legalization

In April 2017, the Government of Canada introduced two Bills in relation to the legalization of recreational cannabis: Bill C-45 (the Cannabis Act) and Bill C-46 (amending the Criminal Code impaired driving provisions). The Bills are currently making their way through the federal parliamentary process with the goal of bringing Bill C-45 into force in July 2018, making non-medical cannabis legal in Canada as of that time. The federal government plans to bring into force the amendments related to drug-impaired driving as soon as Royal Assent is received. Both Bills are currently under review by Standing Senate Committees. Neither of these bills will affect the already legal medical cannabis regime.

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The objectives of Bill C-45 are to prevent young persons from accessing cannabis, to protect public health and public safety by establishing strict product safety and product quality requirements and to deter criminal activity by imposing serious criminal penalties for those operating outside the legal framework. The Act is also intended to reduce the burden on the criminal justice system in relation to cannabis.The proposed Cannabis Act would create a strict legal framework for controlling the production, distribution, sale and possession of cannabis across Canada.

Should the Cannabis Act come into force, adults who are 18 years or older would be able to legally possess up to 30 grams of legal dried cannabis or equivalent in non-dried form; share up to 30 grams of legal cannabis with other adults; purchase dried or fresh cannabis and cannabis oil from a provincially-licensed retailer; grow up to 4 cannabis plants per residence for personal use from licensed seed or seedlings; and make cannabis products, such as food and drinks, at home provided that organic solvents are not used.

Visit the Government of Canada website for more information on the Federal Legalization and Regulation of Cannabis. The draft federal Cannabis Act (Bill C-45) can be found here: Draft Federal Cannabis Act.

Visit the Government of British Columbia website to read the proposed legislation: Proposed Legislation. To learn more about B.C.’s legislative process, visit: B.C.'s Regulatory Process. To learn more about B.C.'s latest decisions on the provincial regulatory framework, visit: Provincial Regulatory Framework. View the Cannabis Private Retail Guide at: B.C. Cannabis Private Retail Licensing Guide.

The BC Liquor Distribution Branch (LDB) will be the sole, wholesale distributor of non-medical cannabis for the province and will operate standalone, public retail stores and provide online sales. Visit the BC Liquor Distribution Branch for more information.

The District of Houston staff have been working on preparing for the proposed legalization, more information on the legislative framework and the authority for each jurisdiction can be found in the District of Houston cannabis legalization presentation.

As a result of the municipal requirements related to this legalization, the District of Houston is preparing:

    1. Amendments to Development Bylaw No. 1040, 2013 to:

  • Establish a “cannabis retail” land use designation and location regulations;
  • Establish a general policy statement which sets out any future incorporation of the Land Use designation for any parcel in the C1 Core Commercial and C2 Highway Service Commercial zones will be assessed on a case by case basis via spot-zoning;
  • Establish a general policy statement recognizing cannabis production as a permissible agricultural use consistent with Agricultural Land Reserve regulations;
  • Establish a “cannabis manufacturing/distribution” land use designation and location regulations, and incorporate such a land use as part of the M1 Light Industry and M2 Heavy Industry zones; and
  • Prohibit “cannabis retail” and “cannabis manufacturing / distribution” as permissible home occupations or home industries.
  • 2. Amendments to Business Licence Bylaw No. 1085, 2016 to:

  • Add a “cannabis retail” definition; and
  • Establish regulations requiring security policies, procedures, and structural improvements for cannabis retail businesses.
  • 3. Staff reports bringing forward the Standards of Maintenance for Rental Properties Bylaw No. 1051, 2014 and nuisance regulations under Development Bylaw No. 1040, 2013 for Council’s review at a future Council meeting;

    4. Amendments to Comprehensive Fees & Charges Bylaw No. 1094, 2017 to establish new fees for Cannabis Manufacturing facilities;

    5. A policy establishing a framework for the review of provincial retail cannabis licences by Council; and

    6. Communications plans and educational materials to promote awareness of future regulatory changes affecting the distribution, sale, and consumption of non-medical cannabis, in coordination with other municipalities and provincial agencies.

More information will be posted to this website as it becomes available. You may direct your questions regarding Cannabis Legalization to Jessica Bagnall, Corporate Officer, either by phone (250-845-2238), by email to corporate@houston.ca, or by letter mail to PO Box 370, Houston BC, V0J 1Z0.

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