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Bylaws pertaining to cannabis being brought in line with provincial, federal regulations

Timothy Schafer
By Timothy Schafer
October 17th, 2018

The municipal fee for a recreational cannabis business licence in Nelson will be dropping by half once legalization takes place this month.

Council voted to reduce the licence fee from $5,000 to $2,500 after city staff determined that much of the work would lie with the province.

However, impact to the city’s police department could be significant, noted a city staff report, and the city’s bylaw enforcement and building inspection staff will still be required to enforce the city’s regulations.

“It is not known what share of taxes collected from the sale of recreational cannabis will be provided to local governments,” said city director of corporate services Frances Long in her report to council.

“Once it is known, it may be prudent to review the business licence fee.”

The city fee for a medical cannabis dispensary was set at $5,000 initially to address the fact that only municipal resources would be regulating the dispensaries.

“Implementation of the provincial regulations for recreational cannabis includes the establishment of provincial staff that will deal with the provincial licensing regulations,” said Long.

The city’s portion of the new licence fee would recover labour costs for bylaw enforcement (enforcement of regulations) and police enforcement that include ongoing inspections and enforcement of regulations and laws.

The changes to the Bylaw Notice Enforcement Amendment Bylaw were housekeeping matters to remove the penalties that were put into place relevant to the medical cannabis business licence bylaw.

The city initially adopted the Medical Cannabis Business Licence Bylaw as an interim measure to regulate medical cannabis dispensaries while the federal and provincial laws regarding legalization of recreational cannabis were being created.

The business licence regulatory bylaw will contain several of the regulations previously contained in the medical cannabis business licence bylaw.

Long explained that the city was taking steps to ensure its bylaws conformed to the provincial and federal legislation, adopting new zoning and business licencing regulations.

“This will allow individuals or businesses to apply for a provincial licence to sell recreational cannabis at the retail level in the city of Nelson,” she said.

It also required the city unwind the temporary medical dispensary regulations.

As of Oct. 17 it is the provincial regulations for licencing that will be in force and effect and the city will not be issuing any recreational cannabis retail licences unless the applicant has a provincial licence. As well, the province will not issue a provincial licence unless the applicant is in alignment with the city’s zoning regulations.

“It should also be noted that any applicants for a provincial licence will be subject to the requirements of the city’s Land Development Applications Procedure Bylaw,” said Long.

When council reviews applications, they will be provided the results of a scoring matrix that includes review of whether or not the applicant is in compliance with city regulations.

Categories: General

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