At the council meeting on Nov. 14, Prince Rupert city council rushed through the first two readings to extend the sunset clause on a bylaw that prohibits recreational marijuana businesses from the municipality.
The bylaw extension hasn’t passed yet, and the public has the opportunity to make their voice heard at a public hearing on Dec. 11 at 7 p.m.
Council, however, is in favour to extend the Interm Zoning Amendment Bylaw from Jan. 1 to July 1, 2018, when the federal government is expected to pass legislation to legalize the sale and possession of recreational marijuana. Once cannabis is legalized federally it is up to the provinces and territories to regulate the distribution and retail of the drug, similar to how alcohol and tobacco are regulated across the country.
The bylaw was first passed by council on Feb. 6, temporarily prohibiting commercial marijuana operations throughout Prince Rupert. City council thinks the anticipated legislation won’t be ready in time.
The report to council, which was on the agenda but not presented, said “the regulatory framework for recreational marijuana remains unknown, necessitating an extension of the existing bylaw.”
The B.C. government plans to introduce provincial regulations in the legislature next spring, hence the bylaw extension to the summer.
Councillor Joy Thorkelson asked if the public could give input for provincial regulations on recreational marijuana sales, but Mayor Lee Brain said that period of consultation has closed.
The B.C. Cannabis Regulation Engagement asked B.C. residents to provide feedback and input and closed on Nov. 1 after five weeks of public engagement.