Chilliwack is as ready as it can be for cannabis legalization on Oct. 17 (Black Press photo)

Chilliwack ready for legalization with zoning and business bylaw changes

Cannabis retailers in Chilliwack will have to rezone property to open a storefront

Chilliwack is as ready as it can be for cannabis legalization on Oct. 17, according to officials, after seeking public input and laying the groundwork down ever since the proposed federal Cannabis Act was introduced last spring.

Retail locations, land-use, and zoning rules are now in place, after the zoning and business bylaw regulations were amended to facilitate a non-medical retail cannabis framework in Chilliwack.

READ MORE: Stores shut down themselves pre-emptively

“In terms of getting ready, we have already done the bulk of the work,” said Jamie Leggatt, communications manager for City of Chilliwack. “We have engaged the public and made changes to our zoning and business licence bylaws.”

The creation of a C9 (Cannabis Retail) Zone was recently approved by council with development criteria for storefront retailers, including specific standards to mitigate inappropriate exposure to minors as well as avoiding concentration of storefront shops in a commercial area.

Potential cannabis store operators have to apply to rezone the property, as well as applying for a retail licence from the Province of BC, and then they can apply for a business licence from Chilliwack. Rezoning applications are subject to public input and council consideration.

Security plans, police checks, security alarms and air filtration are some of the requirements for getting a business licence.

Chilliwack opted for a 300-metre buffer under the C9 Zone to keep cannabis stores away from schools, community centres, sports fields, playgrounds and supportive housing or facilities that serve vulnerable youth.

City council also moved to restrict non-farm use of ALR property by prohibiting bunker-style, cement-based cannabis production facilities on farmland.

Chilliwack is anticipating strong demand from potential cannabis retailers, so applications will be processed as they arrive in the queue.

More details at chilliwack.com/retailcannabis

READ MORE: City staffer on committee looking at legalization


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