In April 2017, the Government of Canada introduced Bill C-45 (the Cannabis Act) and Bill C-46 (the Act to amend the Criminal Code) with plans to make non-medical (i.e. recreational) cannabis legal in Canada by July 2018. While the proposed Cannabis Act provides an overall framework for cannabis legalization and regulation, it also provides authorities for all levels of government.
Generally the Cannabis Act provides authority for the Federal government to regulate commercial cultivation, processing, and sales (by phone or online), with Federal licences required for these activities. Provincial governments will have authority to establish age limits, wholesale and retail distribution models, among others.
Local governments will have authority to regulate certain aspects like retail location and rules, regulatory compliance, public consumption, and land use/zoning. As such, local governments are preparing for cannabis legalization through regulatory updates.
Public Feedback on Cannabis Regulations
The SLRD is seeking feedback from the public on the areas that local governments can regulate. Input will help the SLRD develop and implement regulations (following the legalization of cannabis) to best meet the communities’ desires and also achieve objectives established by the federal and provincial governments.
Preparing for Cannabis Legalization
The SLRD is taking the following steps to prepare for cannabis legalization:
- Update SLRD Electoral Area Zoning Bylaws – current proposed zoning amendments. The SLRD is taking an incremental approach to the regulation of cannabis in the Electoral Areas – maintaining the status quo for both retail and production while considering new uses through site-specific zoning amendment processes (once the Cannabis Act comes into effect).
- Seek Public Feedback – take the survey (linked above)! And once the Cannabis Act comes into effect and the full framework for legalization is established, the SLRD will be exploring further community engagement opportunities.
- Develop and Implement Regulations - regulations will take into account public feedback and will be explored in depth following the legalization of cannabis (when the full Federal and Provincial regulatory framework is revealed).