COQUITLAM, B.C., Sept. 8, 2021 – Coquitlam will consider new proposed regulations for cannabis businesses this fall, intended to promote economic development while minimizing potential impacts on the community.
At the moment, only medical cannabis grow operations are permitted in the City. Based on extensive research and public consultation, the draft Cannabis Regulatory Framework presented to Coquitlam Council-in-Committee yesterday would allow non-medical cannabis businesses in the city for the first time, while regulating where and how they can produce, process, and sell their product.
Consulting the Public
Public and stakeholder consultation on the proposed framework was conducted in late January and February and received 1,255 responses, primarily from Coquitlam residents.
The City’s suggested approach received general support, with those in favour pointing to the potential for the businesses to provide jobs and stimulate the economy. Roughly 30 per cent of respondents were not in favour, primarily because they opposed the legalization of cannabis.
Proposed Framework Details
The proposed framework is intended to support an emerging business sector while addressing issues brought forward by the community and reflecting best practices, the experience of nearby communities and feedback from the City’s Strategic Priorities Standing Committee.
For production and processing of cannabis, the framework proposes:
- Indoor production and processing be permitted in Industrial zones, with indoor processing also permitted in Business Enterprise zones, with no Council approval; and
- Applications be reviewed through the Building Permit process.
For retail sales of cannabis products and accessories to the public, the framework proposes:
- Retail sales be considered by Council on a case-by-case basis in commercial areas through a zoning text amendment process;
- Rezoning applications be accepted during a specified time period and processed in a batch, to create a level playing field;
- Applicants apply to the provincial Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch concurrently with their City application;
- Considering stores in the Burquitlam, Lougheed, Austin Heights, Maillardville and City Centre areas;
- A buffer zone from schools and parks;
- Larger separation distances from places where youth and vulnerable people are located, such as daycares, community spaces, recovery homes, emergency shelters, and community gathering spaces; and
- Design criteria to ensure safety and fit with the neighbourhood.
Implementing the Framework
Following this week’s presentation to Council-in-Committee, staff will incorporate the feedback and proceed with developing bylaw amendments and policy updates for Council consideration later this year. Amendments are required to the Zoning Bylaw, Business Licence Bylaw, Bylaw Enforcement Notices Bylaw, and Fees and Charges Bylaw, along with a new Council Policy. The Public Hearing for the bylaw amendments will provide an additional opportunity for public comment.
Visit www.coquitlam.ca/cannabis for background and information about the proposed cannabis regulations. The webpage provides links to receive email updates about the Cannabis Regulatory Framework, or sign up directly at www.coquitlam.ca/notifyme.
City of Coquitlam