Colwood council is looking into what allowing the sale of recreational cannabis in the city could look like.
A report in regards to the review of cannabis land use regulations in the city was submitted to council on April 23.
“We basically gave direction to staff to investigate further what Langford is doing and what other municipalities are doing from a policy standpoint,” said Colwood Mayor Rob Martin.
Currently, the city’s Land Use Bylaw prohibits the distribution, sale or dispensing of cannabis on any premises except for a licensed pharmacy and premises licensed to sell cannabis for medical purposes.
Martin said council is trying to get a policy in place that is fairly consistent with the region.
So far, the City of Langford has approved two non-medical cannabis retail stores to set up shop in the city.
Martin, however, said Colwood wants to take things a little slower and get appropriate policies and procedures in place.
“Council is not in a rush to do things, we want to make sure we do it in a correct way,” Martin said. “Langford’s model is an aggressive model and not one our staff are familiar with.”
Currently, the City of Langford has given out temporary use permits to two stores that will sell recreational cannabis. The permits are issued on a case-by-case basis and permit non-medical cannabis retail sales at a site-specific location for three years. After the three years, the retailer can rezone or cease operations.
Temporary use permits are an option that Colwood is considering, according to the report submitted to council.
The City of Langford has also funded a community liaison officer to work with the community and help educate others about cannabis.
Another option is for Colwood to permit non-medical cannabis retail sales in all or a subset of existing commercial and mixed-use zones.
The city could also maintain the current prohibition of non-medical cannabis retail in all zones and require prospective cannabis retailers to make site-specific applications. The city would be able to assess each application through the rezoning process on a case-by-case process.
Additionally, Colwood council could adopt policies that include guidelines like the minimum distance between cannabis retail stores.
According to the report, “the city has already received two applications to amend the Land Use Bylaw to allow the retail sale of non-medical cannabis at specific commercially zoned locations.”
Martin said the the city will look at the applications at the end of May.
As for Colwood community members, Martin said he has not had anybody contact him who is against retail cannabis sales in the city.
“Most of the comments I’ve received have been about wanting it in the community from a convenience standpoint,” Martin said. “I think the community is going to be open to it.”