Port Coquitlam Approves Cannabis Retail Regulations

Port Coquitlam will begin to accept applications for proposed cannabis retail outlets on Feb. 6, after hearing from the public and adopting new regulations Tuesday night.

On Feb. 5, Port Coquitlam City Council updated the zoning bylaw to allow the city to consider potential sites for cannabis retail outlets in a similar way to how it regulates liquor sales locations. Applications for proposed cannabis retail sites will be evaluated based on the newly adopted Cannabis Establishment Policy that includes siting and design criteria.

The new policy and regulations follow extensive public consultation in fall 2018, including an open house and an online survey that engaged more than 800 participants. A public hearing was also held prior to the Feb. 5 vote.

“We’ve consulted the community extensively on this issue and have done our due diligence,” Mayor Brad West said. “The checks and balances we’ve put in place will give Council control over any new outlets. We will be looking for proposals that would contribute to our local economy and employment, and offer some kind of community benefit.”

The site-specific zoning bylaw amendment allows Council to consider potential community impacts, receive public feedback, and set conditions on a case-by-case basis.

West also noted that the smoking bylaw changes the city adopted last year – banning all types of smoking and vaping at local parks and trails and near schools, buildings, bus stops and other locations – is another step the city has taken that minimizes the impact of recreational cannabis use.

To meet the new policy and regulations, cannabis outlets would need to be at least one kilometre away from each other, and at least 250 metres away from schools, playgrounds, community centres and sports fields.

Council would also consider the potential impact on sensitive land uses such as childcare facilities, churches, shelters and recovery homes, as well as proximity to transportation services.

Before submitting an application, applicants would need to obtain input from nearby residents and businesses. If approved, they may be required to post signs about the city’s smoking restrictions and install an air filtration system to limit odour. The retail spaces would need to be visually appealing, consistent with the character of neighbouring buildings, and have a layout that discourages on-premises sampling or use. The process would also regulate signage to prevent flashy or inappropriate signs.

The new outlet may also be required to provide some kind of community benefit, such as education, programs or funding for community services.

“We made some changes to the proposed siting and design criteria to address what we heard from the community last fall,” said Cllr. Steve Darling, who is the Council designate for Community Safety. “We’re also committed to monitoring this new business sector and will make changes along the way if necessary.”

Port Coquitlam begins accepting rezoning applications from proposed cannabis retail outlets on Feb. 6. All applications received between Feb. 6 and Mar. 6 will be reviewed concurrently. After Mar. 6, applications will be considered on an individual basis.

More information and links to the policy, updated bylaw and rezoning application are posted at www.portcoquitlam.ca/cannabis.

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For additional information, contact:

Jennifer Little
Manager, Planning Division
City of Port Coquitlam
tel.: 604.927.5243
e-mail: littlej@portcoquitlam.ca