Those planning a cannabis-related business in Oak Bay will need to file a zoning amendment after council approved its bylaw Tuesday, Nov. 13.
Oak Bay held a public hearing to alter its zoning bylaw to not allow for the retail sale of cannabis, commercial growing or production of cannabis or products or a cannabis lounge.
“A lot of the speakers there were concerned about the idea of prohibition. That concern was heard loud and clear,” said Oak Bay Mayor Kevin Murdoch. “Council overall looked at this from a land use perspective recognizing it takes time to do the regulations properly.”
Cairine Green was the lone opposition to have bylaw amendments to “prohibit” the use of recreational cannabis within the community, believing that Oak Bay should be more proactive and less tentative.
“I supported instead an option that Oak Bay begin a review process leading to a set of comprehensive amendments to regulate the sale and use of recreational cannabis in Oak Bay,” Green said. “I learned that staff resources and capacity pose a challenge in expediting this work and the issue has now been referred for consideration to a council strategic planning session early in the new year.”
That was a second motion that earned unanimous support, shifting consideration of cannabis bylaws to council priorities sessions “so it doesn’t just sit in a state of requiring rezoning to get a license,” Murdoch said. “There was unanimous support for not letting it lag.”
Murdoch says it’s important to note that applications can still be made through a rezoning process.
“We have such regulations for everything from banks to liquor,” he said. “It’s not a good long-term solution, I think we all agree to that.”