Salmon Arm Mayor Nancy Cooper.

Column: Marijuana laws create zoning concerns

The Federal Cannabis Act is anticipated to be enacted in the spring or early summer 2018.

This means a new legal landscape for the recreational use of cannabis here in Canada. For municipalities this new law has significant implications and costs.

The legislation proposes to legalize the sale, growing and consumption of marijuana with a large menu of limitations and restrictions.

The provinces are expected, but so far not required, to implement corresponding legislation to assist with the regulation of the product, similar to how public and private liquor stores are licensed and regulated by the Provincial Liquor Control and Licensing Branch.

With this new legislation close on the horizon, municipalities and regional districts need where and what our provincial government controls will be and who will pay for the additional costs.

Local governments throughout Canada will need to make some decisions on how marijuana use in general fits within zoning bylaw and business licensing regimes, and many questions remain unanswered. For example, in Salmon Arm, will the sale of marijuana be allowed from any retail store, or only from a pharmacy, or will they be considered as a distinct dispensary requiring a special zone?

Should there be a cap on the number of retail dispensaries, and should the locations be restricted?

Up to four plants are allowed to be grown in a household.

How would a City regulate the number of plants growing in a household?

In the absence of Provincial regulations and inspectors, municipalities are expected to fill the enforcement void, meaning a demand and therefore additional cost for more bylaw enforcement, inspection and policing resources.

The legal opinion of the City of Salmon Arm’s corporate lawyers is that local governments will be faced with enforcement challenges.

They state that municipalities will be “key partners” in enforcing local zoning and density bylaws and building standards.

In addition, matters related to minimum age enforcement, personal cultivation, possession limits, smoking restrictions, and public nuisance complaints will all fall on local government enforcement services.

So as I stated at the beginning, who will be expected to pay for these additional costs?

The answer to this question and many others is still unclear.

Just Posted

Controlled burns taking place across Okanagan

That smoke you see on Okanagan hillsides is supposed to be there

Slideshow: Shuswap Stars sparkle on the dance floor

Stunning choreography raises funds for new chalet at Larch Hills

Heavy snowfall expected on Coquihalla

Snow forecast for mountain highways

Traffic stopped on Highway 97B due to crash

The incident took place south of Mellors Store.

Families of missing Shuswap women call for action

Birthday of missing woman Ashley Simpson remembered during rally in Yankee Flats

Drones used in search for clues about missing women

A volunteer search party was supported by professional drone operators

Report sets exercise guidelines for young kids, including ‘tummy time’ for babies

Kids aged one to four should get at least three hours of physical activity throughout the day

Stampeders return to Grey Cup with 32-28 win over Edmonton Eskimos

The Stampeders will face the Toronto Argonauts next Sunday in Ottawa for the title

Traxxas Monster Truck Tour to roll into Kelowna

Monster Trucks at Prospera Place on Jan. 13-14, 2018.

Nebraska approves TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline

Nebraska’s Public Service Commission approved TransCanada’s Keystone XL route in a close vote

Forecast calls for a snowy Canadian winter

Canadians told to brace for a ‘classic’ Canadian winter with lots of snow

Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip celebrate 70th anniversary

The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh are celebrating their platinum wedding anniversary

Charles Manson, leader of murderous ’60s cult, dead at 83

Charles Manson, whose cult slayings horrified world, dies

‘An officer and a gentleman’: Const. John Davidson is laid to rest

Thousands attend memorial service for slain Abbotsford Police officer

Most Read