It’s going to take some time for Chilliwack to prepare for a new retail landscape when legalized recreational marijuana sales come into force later this year.
“We haven’t had that discussion yet as a council,” Mayor Sharon Gaetz said. “There are a variety of opinions about it.”
When council does take on the conversation, it will seek a staff report and specific recommendations on what direction to take as a local government.
It will consider where legalized weed stores should be located, such as proximity to schools, or whether to license them at all, as examples.
Provincial officials released a few details this week about what to expect with a mixed public/private retail scenario being mapped out in B.C. Possession will be restricted to those 19+, with a limit of 30g per person in public.
Pot will not be sold in government liquor stores, but in standalone outlets or online. It won’t be available alongside alcohol products, tobacco, or food.
There has been some debate about whether to allow smoking or consumption rooms.
“As communities we are all in the same boat, listening for what our neighbours will decide to do,” Gaetz said. “It could take some time.”
In terms of production on agricultural land, council has made clear there are concerns about odour, minimum building setbacks and the potential size of buildings. Added costs of policing and enforcement are also a consideration.
The legalization date is expected some time in July 2018 but producers may not have product ready necessarily.
Local governments are scrambling.
“Most would agree we need more time on this file,” Gaetz added.
Chilliwack CAO Peter Monteith has been sitting on a provincial committee with the mandate to establish the rules for retail recreational pot sales in B.C., which the mayor said is helping to guide members of the Union of B.C. Municipalities as they establish retails rules in their communities.