The RMOW currently prohibits the retail sale of cannabis through our Zoning Bylaw. We are developing a comprehensive policy framework update based on Official Community Plan (OCP) goals, objectives and policies to provide regulatory direction, guide the review of applications, and consistency in decision-making to permit cannabis retail establishments in Whistler.
The Federal Cannabis Act became law in October 2018, establishing a legal framework for controlling the lawful production, distribution, sale, and possession of cannabis in Canada.
Each Province and Territory has the authority to regulate certain aspects including distribution and retail. Municipalities have the authority to further regulate certain aspects such as retail through land use and business licensing regulations and public use through smoking regulations.
In B.C., the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch (LCRB) oversees liquor and non-medical cannabis regulations. These are the rules and laws that govern B.C.'s private retail sale of liquor and non-medical cannabis.
What is changing?
On December 7, 2021, Council directed staff to proceed with developing an approach to regulating cannabis retail in Whistler, including a policy framework based on OCP goals, objectives, and policies, a Temporary Use Permit (TUP) framework, bylaw amendments, and a stakeholder and community engagement strategy.
Should the Cannabis Retail Strategy be supported, applicants will be required to obtain a TUP and business licence from the RMOW, in addition to a Cannabis Retail licence from the provincial Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch (LCRB). The municipal approvals process is parallel to the provincial licensing process, which is similar to the approval process for liquor stores and pubs. Provincial cannabis retail referrals will only be reviewed by the RMOW after a temporary use permit has been approved.
Staff propose creating TUP areas to allow one retail cannabis location in each of Function Junction and Creekside, and two locations in Whistler Village. Another location could be considered in the Nesters Plaza. This allocation of locations will ensure access to retail cannabis for residents and visitors, while limiting proliferation. Distancing requirements between cannabis locations can be added to avoid clustering.
In addition to the Cannabis Retail Policy, updates to the following bylaws are necessary to support the regulatory framework update:
- Zoning and Parking Bylaw No. 303, 2015 to update relevant definitions and to establish TUP areas where the RMOW would consider allowing cannabis retail;
- Business Licence and Regulation Bylaw 2253, 2019 to establish business licence fees for retail cannabis establishments; and
- Land Use Procedures and Fees Bylaw No. 2019, 2012 to update Temporary Use Permit application procedures.
Engagement with industry, key stakeholders, and the community will identify community goals and priorities for cannabis retail implementation, and the proposed regulatory scheme.
More information about the Cannabis Retail Policy and engagement opportunities will be announced in January 2022. Please check back regularly for updates on the Cannabis Retail Policy.