Provinces and territories control the distribution and retail sales of non-medical cannabis within their jurisdictions. The BC Provincial Government has appointed the Liquor Distribution Branch (LDB) to be the exclusive wholesale distributor of non-medical cannabis, while retail sales will be offered to the public through a combination of government and private owned stores, as well as online through the government site.
In addition to their authority to establish age, possession, and personal cultivation regulations are more stringent than those contained in the federal legislation, provinces and territories are responsible for many matters of implementation, such as how and by whom cannabis may be sold and where it may be consumed within their jurisdiction.
The Province of British Columbia has announced that the minimum age to possess, purchase and consume cannabis in BC will be 19. More information on Provincial Cannabis Sales can be found here.
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In May 2018, the City enacted an interim prohibition (Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 2224) of cannabis dispensaries (retail sales of medical and/or recreational cannabis), cannabis manufacturing facilities, and the commercial scale growing of cannabis as a horticultural use in all zones until a complete regulatory program, with community consultation, is developed and approved by Council. The work has begun and a community survey will be open to residents from August 27th until September 10th. The survey will be available on the City’s website and also in hard copy at the front counter of the Development Services Department at 216 MacKenzie Avenue.It is the City’s goal to have regulations in place prior to cannabis legalization on October 17, 2018.
The City’s planning process to develop regulations for cannabis involves several steps. Key milestones in the planning process are identified below. Please note due to the dynamic nature of community planning projects, the schedule is subject to change. For up to date information on upcoming Council meetings, please visit the City's Council Meeting Information page.
Residents will have an opportunity to complete a community survey with questions related to their thoughts on cannabis regulation in the City of Revelstoke. The survey will be posted on the City’s website (on the homepage) and will also be available in hard copy from the Development Services Department at 216 Mackenzie Avenue. The survey will be open from 9 a.m. August 27th until September 10th at 4 pm.
The federal government is responsible for establishing and maintaining a comprehensive and consistent national framework for regulating cannabis production, setting standards for health and safety, and establishing criminal prohibitions. More specifically, the federal government is responsible for the following:
• Establishing restrictions on adult access to cannabis, including purchasing through an appropriate framework, sourcing from a well-regulated industry, or growing safely in limited amounts at home;
• Establishing serious criminal penalties for those operating outside the legal system, especially those who provide cannabis to youth;
• Creating rules to limit how cannabis or cannabis accessories can be promoted, packaged, labelled and displayed, to protect youth;
• Instituting a federal licensing regime for cannabis production that will set and enforce health and safety requirements and protect against the involvement of organized crime in the legal industry;
• Establishing industry-wide rules on the types of products that will be allowed for sale, standardized serving sizes and potency, the use of certain ingredients and good production practices, as well as the tracking of cannabis from seed to sale to prevent diversion to the illicit market;
• Creating minimum federal conditions that provincial and territorial legislation for distribution and retail sale would be required to meet, to ensure a reasonably consistent national framework to promote safety (e.g., adequate measures would need to be in place to prevent diversion, cannabis could not be sold to youth, and only legally produced cannabis could be sold);
• Establishing the ability for the federal government to license distribution and sale in any province or territory that does not enact such legislation;
• Enforcing the law at the border, while maintaining the free flow of legitimate travel and trade; and
• Establishing and maintaining the national framework for cannabis for medical purposes.
Municipalities can set additional regulatory requirements to address issues of local concern. For example:
If City Council approves specific zoning for non-medical, cannabis-related businesses, applicants for a retail store licence must submit a licence application to the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch (LCRB). When an application is received, the LCRB will notify the local government of the area where the proposed store will be located. Upon receipt of notice, local governments can:
If the local government chooses to make a comment and recommendation on the licensee’s application to the LCRB, it must gather the views of residents (this can be through public hearing, public notification period or another means). If it makes a recommendation to deny the application, then the LCRB may not issue the licence.
The City’s Development Services Department has received a substantial number of enquiries from companies and individuals wishing to operate cannabis retail stores in the City, and we expect that demand for business licences will be high. To balance competing community interests, the City wants to ensure that its regulations fairly address the concerns of residents and needs of retail operators.
Due to the speed at which this new industry is being developed and implemented, we want to ensure it is introduced in a manner that best meets the needs of Revelstoke residents. This includes determining where retail stores would best be located and whether any business licence restrictions or requirements should be imposed to fairly balance community interests.
The City will need to have regulations in place before cannabis retailers are authorized to operate.
If City Council approves specific zoning for non-medical, cannabis-related businesses, applicants for a retail store licence must submit a licence application to the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch (LCRB). When an application is received, the LCRB will notify the local government of the area where the proposed store will be located.
If the local government chooses to make a comments and recommendation on the licensee’s application to the LCRB, it must gather the views of residents (this can be through public hearing, public notification period or another means). If it makes a recommendation to deny the application, then the LCRB may not issue the licence. If it makes a recommendation in favour of the application, then the LCRB has discretion whether to issue the licence but must consider the local government’s recommendation. More information on the local government’s role in licensing non-medical cannabis retails stores can be found within the Local Governments’ Role in Licensing Non-Medical Cannabis Retails Stores guide.
Municipalities can set regulatory requirements to address issues of local concern.
Currently, the Federal Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations allows the cultivation of cannabis within the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR). Local governments cannot restrict cannabis production within the ALR so long as it is grown in an open field, in a structure that is soil-based or in an existing licensed operation. Local governments can, however, prohibit the development of industrial-style, cement-based and bunker-style cannabis production on ALR land.Under the Cannabis Act, municipalities can determine where cannabis production can take place.
B.C. will align with the proposed federal legislation and allow adults to grow up to four cannabis plants per household, but the plants must not be visible from public spaces off the property. Home cultivation of non-medical cannabis will be banned in dwellings used as daycares. In addition, landlords and strata councils will be able to restrict or prohibit home cultivation.
However, municipalities may choose to set further restrictions on personal cultivation beyond what is outlined in the proposed Cannabis Act.
Strata corporations and councils:
With the help of their own legal counsel, strata corporations can enact their own bylaws prohibiting or restricting recreational cannabis cultivation or smoking in strata lots or on common property. Strata corporations also have the power to impose fines and other penalties on strata lot owners, who do not comply with strata bylaws.
Landlords in BC can prohibit home cultivation. Landlords can also allow home cultivation or allow it under certain restrictions (e.g. by allowing only outdoor cultivation of one plant). An amendment to the Residential Tenancy Act automatically prohibits home recreational cannabis cultivation in tenancies entered into before the Cannabis Control and Licensing Act came into force. Landlords should contact the Residential Tenancy Branch (link is external) for more information on their rights related to home cannabis cultivation.
Owners of strata property are required to comply with any strata bylaws related to home cultivation, and property owners who rent homes are subject to the rights and rules of the Residential Tenancy Act noted above. Property owners can prohibit home cultivation on their property. Homeowners wishing to grow cannabis on their property should consult provincial and federal legislation and any applicable strata bylaws.
Under the current system, individuals that require cannabis for medical purposes must be authorized by a health care provider. Sales are through federally-licensed producers only at this time. This process is not changing when the Cannabis Act takes effect on October 17, 2018.
There will be no medical retail licences issued at this time. Medical cannabis will continue to be sold directly by federally licensed producers only (with secure delivery by mail or courier) and any application to produce and sell medical cannabis must be made under the federal medical cannabis system. The federal government has committed to conducting a review of the medical cannabis system in five years.
Under the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations, individuals can also apply for a license to grow a specified number of plants for medical purposes or designate someone to grow on their behalf.
No. Under current federal legislation, cannabis retail stores and compassion clubs are illegal and subject to enforcement.
Currently, cannabis for medical purposes can only be purchased if authorized by a health care practitioner. It may only be purchased from a licensed producer and sales are strictly on-line.
No. Consumption lounges have not been approved by the Provincial Government at this time. It is anticipated that this will be reviewed in 2019.
Edible cannabis products will not be legal or legally sold in 2018. The federal government has announced that they will become legal in the summer of 2019.
The Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch, formerly the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch, will be responsible for licensing non-medical cannabis private stores and monitoring the non-medical cannabis retail sector in B.C. It will enforce rules governing retails stores similar to those currently in place for liquor. Privately owned stores will not be authorized to sell cannabis online. Cannabis sales will only be permitted in licensed retail stores.
The Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch will consult with municipalities on each application submitted for a retail sales licence. The municipality will be required to consult with the community on each application. Applications will only be approved by the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch if written support from the municipality is provided.
All non-medical cannabis products will be distributed through the BC Liquor Distribution Branch. As with alcohol sales, retail businesses will not be permitted to grow their own product or source it from a third-party.
Having LDB-run wholesale distribution and retail will help support the government’s key priorities of protecting children and youth, prioritizing health and safety, and keeping the criminal element out of cannabis.
Once cannabis is legalized:
Public consumption of cannabis in Revelstoke will be limited by:
There are well-documented risks from cannabis use to both immediate and long-term health. The main health risks include:
• Cognitive, psychomotor, and memory impairments;
• Hallucinations and impaired perception;
• Impaired child and youth brain development;
• Mental health problems (including psychosis);
• Pulmonary/bronchial problems (e.g., bronchitis, lung infections, chronic
• cough, increased mucus buildup in the throat, and potentially lung cancer);
• Dependence; and
• Reproductive problems.
Fischer, B., Russell, C., Sabioni, P., van den Brink, W., Le Foll, B., Hall, W., Rehm, J. & Room, R. (2017). “Lower-Risk Cannabis Use Guidelines (LRCUG): An evidence-based update.” American Journal of Public Health, 107(8). DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.2017.303818.
While it is premature to know exactly what legalization will mean economically for municipalities across Canada, it is apparent that cannabis sales bring millions of dollars into the coffers of states and municipalities in which recreational use of the substance is legalized.
In 2014, the first year of legalized sales, Colorado retailers sold $213,414,440 worth of recreational marijuana, before all taxes. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, approximately 15.09% of Colorado residents, or 808,220 people, smoke some amount of pot, resulting in average annual retail marijuana spending of $264 per user. Extrapolated to Ontario, which, according to Statistics Canada is home to 1,331,299 marijuana smokers (12.1% of the population), the first year of legalization could generate $351,462,936 in marijuana sales provincewide.
Currently cannabis use and sales are prohibited within the City of Revelstoke. The City is working on a regulatory framework and plans to have this in place prior to legalization on October 17th, 2018. The framework will identify zoning and business licensing requirements for opening a cannabis business in Revelstoke.
The Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch is now accepting applications for the private non-medical cannabis retail store licence. Applicants must apply through the cannabis licensing application portal. The City will not review applications for non-medical cannabis retail stores prior to the full implementation of federal and provincial regulations. At that time, private operators will be expected to go through the City's official permitting process.
Individuals will be able to purchase cannabis from licensed retailers only. Cannabis will be sold in both public and private-owned retail stores, and online through the BC LDB’s retail site. In February 2018 the BC Retail Sales framework was released. The legal consumption age in B.C. is 19. Individuals will be able to possess up to 30 grams of cannabis at a time.
There are several sources of government information on cannabis for medical and non-medical purposes. Here are a few:
Understanding the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations:
Cannabis Act Introduction:
B.C. Cannabis Retail Store Licensing Process:
Health Canada Cannabis Legalization and Regulation Facts:
Cannabis Distribution System in B.C.