Cannabis production, sales and use

The Government of Canada has legalized cannabis consumption, effective Oct. 17, 2018. On and after that date, provincial legislation permits cannabis consumption wherever tobacco consumption is lawful in public. To conform with provincial regulations, the same City Bylaws that currently apply to smoking or vaping in public areas will also apply to smoking cannabis.

Cannabis smoking is allowed on private properties that permit smoking, and within some public areas where tobacco smoking is permitted.

Cannabis smoking is not permitted in parks, public spaces and within six metres of doorways (provincial regulation). This includes sidewalk patios, bus shelters and boat launches.

Cannabis smoking at Kelowna International Airport will be permitted in designated smoking areas.

Sale of cannabis in unapproved retail locations is unlawful, as cannabis remains a controlled substance with strict rules around distribution. Anyone selling or otherwise distributing cannabis contrary to the rules would be committing an offense – most likely to be considered trafficking a controlled substance.

What you need to know about cannabis
Use of cannabis

The B.C. Government’s Cannabis Control and Licensing Act (2018) outlines rules for the use of cannabis in B.C., as follows.

  • Sets 19 as the provincial minimum age to purchase, sell or consume cannabis.
  • Allows adults to possess up to 30 grams of cannabis in a public place.
  • Prohibits cannabis smoking and vaping everywhere tobacco smoking and vaping are prohibited, as well as at playgrounds, sports fields, skate parks, and other places where children commonly gather.
  • Prohibits the use of cannabis on school properties and in vehicles and boats.
  • Authorizes adults to grow up to four cannabis plants per household, but the plants must not be visible from public spaces off the property, and home cultivation will be banned in homes used as daycares.
  • Residential Tenancy Act and Manufactured Home Park Tenancy Act prohibit cannabis smoking under existing leases that prohibit smoking tobacco and prohibit the personal cultivation of cannabis under existing leases, except for federally authorized medical cannabis.
  • For new leases, the existing provisions of each Act allow landlords and tenants to negotiate the terms of leases.
  • Establishes a cannabis retail licensing regime similar to the current licensing regime for liquor.
Production of cannabis
  • The existing definition of Medical Marihuana Production Facilities has been amended to Cannabis Production Facilities, which includes both medical and non-medical cannabis production. This is currently a permitted principal use in Kelowna on Industrial (I1, I2, I3 and I4) zoned properties.
  • Properties with new Cannabis Production Facilities are required to be located a minimum of 60 metres from any property where the principal use is residential.
  • Cannabis production facilities must be on a property that is zoned to allow cannabis production as a permitted use. A City of Kelowna business licence and a federal production licence would be required. Additional requirements of the Building, Fire and Safety codes would also need to be met as part of the licensing approval process.
  • Federal legislation authorizes adults to grow up to four cannabis plants per household, but the plants must not be visible from public spaces off the property, and home cultivation will be banned in homes used as daycares.
  • The B.C. Residential Tenancy Act and Manufactured Home Park Tenancy Act prohibit the personal cultivation of cannabis under existing leases, except for federally authorized medical cannabis. For new leases, the existing provisions of each Act allow landlords and tenants to negotiate the terms of leases.
Applications for cannabis retail

Steps for applicants

  1. Apply to have a property appropriately zoned to sell cannabis.
  2. Obtain from the provincial government a licence to operate a non-medical cannabis retail store. This licence requires input and a positive recommendation from the City of Kelowna.
  3. Apply for a business licence from the City of Kelowna.

Municipalities that have the retail zoning framework in place for retail cannabis sales will receive provincial applications for review.

Locations

Council adopted zoning changes that are designed to address fairness among retailers, while ensuring they are in appropriate areas of the city – similar to the approach with retail liquor stores.

Retail cannabis sales establishments are permitted with a successful rezoning to the retail cannabis sales subzone as:

  • a principal use in C3, C4, C6, C7, C10, CD17, and CD26 zones
  • a secondary use in C2 and C9
  • a secondary use in I1, I2, I4 zones (with maximum 250-square-metres gross floor area)

The following regulations apply:

  • Minimum 500 m distance between retail cannabis sales establishments
  • Minimum 150 m distance from select parks
  • Minimum 150 m distance from elementary schools
  • Minimum 500 m distance from middle and secondary schools

A rezoning application must be made to rezone to the retail cannabis sales subzone for a property in one of the above-listed zones. A City business license and a Provincial Retail Cannabis license will be required. Additional requirements of the Building, Fire and Safety codes also need to be met as part of the licensing approval process.

Check out the draft map of properties which may allow a retail cannabis sales establishment. This map has been created to demonstrate the potential opportunities for retail cannabis locations in Kelowna under draft land use control regulations proposed by staff. The public and businesses should not rely on this map for investment purposes, and further due diligence is recommended. Council retains the ability to approve or deny rezoning applications.

Application process

The first intake of applications to rezone properties for retail cannabis sales was from Oct. 1 to Nov. 30, 2018. This process typically takes four to six months (not specific to cannabis rezoning; that’s just the pace of all current rezoning applications).

  • Applications from the first intake were reviewed by a panel of City staff and RCMP representatives, who evaluated applications on criteria, including compliance with City bylaws, business overview, and neighbourhood strategy. The application process was overseen by an independent consultant to add transparency to the evaluation and prioritization process. For more detail, refer to the scoring matrix and application package.
  • Applicants from the first intake were notified on Feb. 4, 2019 whether their application had been selected to move forward with the standard City rezoning process.
  • Applications may be submitted on an ongoing basis; however, only applications that were received prior to Nov. 30, 2018 have been considered in the first intake.
  • All application submissions must include a $1,000 non-refundable application fee, and a $9,495 rezoning fee (this fee will only be processed if an application is accepted). These fees are subject to a standard rate increase in 2019.
  • Business licences will be issued to successful applicants who have achieved all licensing requirements, including a provincial licence to operate, and have their properties approved for retail non-medical cannabis sales through the rezoning process.
Medical cannabis

Medical cannabis falls under federal regulation and is provided to those with a permit from Health Canada to consume cannabis products grown under a personal production license or designated grower for personal production license, or purchased online and delivered via postal services from a commercial licensed producer.

Cannabis timeline

Federal

April 2017: The federal government’s legislation to legalize cannabis introduced to Parliament in April 2017

June 2018: Federal legislation passed by the Senate.

Provincial

April 2018: Province of B.C. began introducing legislation for the distribution and consumption of cannabis. The provincial Cannabis Control and Licensing Act gives the province exclusive rights over wholesale distribution of cannabis and provides the authority for public retails sales in standalone stores that are both government and privately owned.

Municipal

Soon after the Province introduced its legislation in April 2018, outlining how cannabis would be distributed, the City of Kelowna began the process of determining how to manage retail cannabis sales.
February 2019:  15 cannabis retail applications were accepted to move forward through the City’s standard rezoning process. Next steps would require rezoning of properties to allow the sale of recreational cannabis.