Pubdate: Sat, 10 Feb 2018
Source: Victoria Times-Colonist (CN BC)
Copyright: 2018 Times Colonist
Author: Katie DeRosa
Page: A34


Town wants 'cautious' approach; hearing on Tuesday

With cannabis legalization just months away, the District of Tofino is
considering a bylaw that would heavily restrict where pot shops can
operate in the community.

A public hearing is set for Tuesday. People will be able to weigh in
on the proposed bylaw, which would "prohibit the use of any land,
building or structure for the sale, production or distribution of
cannabis," according to a notice of public hearing on the district's

The zoning amendment would cover the whole of Tofino.

However, one Tofino councillor said the bylaw is not an outright ban
on pot shops or cannabis growers.

Coun. Dorothy Baert said that under the current zoning bylaw, cannabis
shops could presumably be permitted anywhere that retail sales are
permitted in Tofino.

That's why council wants to repeal the bylaw and then replace it with
one that would allow council to consider cannabis retail applications
on a case-bycase basis, Baert said.

That would allow the municipality to spot-zone pot shops and take
community input into account, she said.

"It's simply a tool to allow us to manage the introduction of retail
cannabis into the community in a way similar to how operations like
beer and wine stores are managed," Baert said.

The amendment ensures Tofino council is "taking a cautious approach to
the storefront retail sales of recreational cannabis and cannabis
production in advance of detailed and final provincial regulations,"
according to an information bulletin on the district's website.

"Contrary to opinions that have been expressed on social media, Tofino
council, on whole, is supportive of cannabis legalization if that
legalization is done carefully and stepwise."

The zoning amendment will not have an impact on the distribution or
use of medicinal cannabis, which is regulated by the federal
government, or on recreational cannabis use.

The public hearing is scheduled for Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. at the Tofino
Municipal Hall, 351 Arnet Rd.

This week, the provincial government outlined its plans for
recreational marijuana sales in B.C. Cannabis will be sold in a
network of standalone stores, both privately run and government
operated, overseen by the province's liquor regulator, the Liquor
Control and Licensing Branch.

Municipalities will have the authority to set rules on where stores
can operate.

Some B.C. municipalities, such as Victoria and Vancouver, have already
put in place regulatory regimes under which pot shops must meet strict
rezoning requirements before they're given a business licence.
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