Since cannabis became legal in 2018 and following an extensive period of background research, including a review of the approaches taken by other municipalities, the City of Coquitlam is now developing a Cannabis Regulatory Framework. The Framework will guide how the City will implement policies, guidelines, and regulations for cannabis production, processing facilities and retail stores in Coquitlam.
The general approach proposed for considering the different types of cannabis-related businesses is as follows:
1. Production Facilities: Allow outright in areas zoned for industrial uses. Council approval would not be required for each new business.
2. Processing Facilities: Allow outright in areas zoned for industrial and business enterprise uses. Council approval would not be required for each new business.
3. Retail Stores: Allow on a case-by-case basis in commercial areas through a rezoning process. Public consultation and Council approval would be required for each store.
Other considerations that are to be considered include minimum buffer distances from sensitive locations (e.g. playgrounds, schools) and odour management.
Feedback on the City's approach to regulating cannabis-related businesses in Coquitlam was gathered in a survey, which was available Jan. 29 - Feb. 18, 2021. Staff will be reviewing the input and reporting back to Council later in the year. The feedback obtained will be used to inform the City's Cannabis Regulatory Framework.
More information is available on the City's online engagement portal at letstalkcoquitlam.ca/cannabis.
On October 17, 2018, the federal government’s Cannabis Act came into force, legalizing the sale and consumption of non-medical cannabis, subject to additional provincial and local regulation. In anticipation of legalization, the City adopted an amendment to the Zoning Bylaw on April 30, 2018.
These amendments continue to allow medical cannabis grow operations in certain industrial areas under set conditions but prohibit all other cannabis-related land uses, including retail sales, at this time. A copy of the report outlining these interim regulations is available here.
Since cannabis was legalized, Coquitlam has taken a thoughtful approach to regulating cannabis-related businesses. This has included extensive background research and examining leading practices that have emerged in Metro Vancouver, B.C. and Canada as the cannabis retail industry has grown across the country.
Cannabis legalization is a complex process that involves coordination between all three levels of government.
The federal government is responsible for the legalization of non-medical cannabis under the Cannabis Act as well as related impaired driving amendments to the Criminal Code. Learn more at www.canada.ca/cannabis.
The provincial government regulates how cannabis is consumed including minimum purchase and consumption age, possession limits, and wholesale and retail distribution. Learn more at www.gov.bc.ca/cannabis.
Local governments have the authority to regulate certain aspects of the cannabis industry, including if and where cannabis-related businesses such as production and processing facilities and retail stores may be located, and how these businesses may be approved. Local governments may also establish further standards for how cannabis-related businesses operate, including business licensing, signage and odour management.
Smoking and vaping cannabis falls within the existing regulations in the City’s Smoking Control Bylaw. This means smoking and vaping cannabis is not allowed in any location prohibited in the bylaw which includes, for example, City parks, transit shelters, and places of public assembly.
In addition to the City’s Smoking Control Bylaw, there are consumption rules applicable throughout B.C. in the Province’s Cannabis Control and Licensing Act. Generally, those regulations allow smoking cannabis on private residential properties; however, private rules and regulations such as strata bylaws and residential tenancy agreements could also apply.