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Planning Process for Cannabis Retail Stores


About the Planning Process

On June 21, 2018 the Federal Cannabis Act (Bill C-45) became law, making the consumption and retail sale of non-medical cannabis legal in Canada on October 17, 2018, subject to provincial and local government regulations. The City of Abbotsford commenced a planning process to establish a regulatory framework for cannabis retail stores in early 2018, based on direction from Council. This process was completed in four stages, as detailed below.

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Stage 1 – Background Research

Staff conducted preliminary research and raised community awareness about the federal legalization of cannabis.

Timeline: Spring 2018

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Stage 2 – Exploring Options

Staff asked for public feedback in an online survey from June 26 - July 20, 2018 regarding the incoming legislation. The survey results were presented to Council on August 27, 2018. View the presentation.

Timeline: Summer 2018

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Stage 3 - Draft Recommendations

Staff presented guiding principles and a draft regulatory framework for cannabis retail stores to Council on May 6, 2019. Council directed staff to proceed with community engagement on the draft framework. Open houses were held June 18 - June 20, 2019 and an online questionnaire was conducted June 18 - July 19, 2019.

Timeline: Fall 2018 - Summer 2019

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Stage 4 – Finalizing Regulatory Framework

Staff presented a summary of community engagement and recommendations for next steps to Council on Monday, September 30 (see Council Report PDS 078-2019 and the presentation for details). At this meeting, Council directed staff to prepare bylaw amendments and a policy to implement the Planning Process for Cannabis Retail Stores.

Staff introduced a proposed Cannabis Store Regulations Amendment Bylaw and a proposed Cannabis Retail Store Policy to Council on November 4, 2019 (see Council Report PDS 092-2019 and the presentation for details). Council gave the Bylaw 1st and 2nd readings and scheduled a Public Hearing for November 18, 2019.

After the November 18 Public Hearing, Council deliberated and gave the Bylaw 3rd reading. Council adopted Bylaw No. 2902-2019, "Cannabis Store Regulations Amendment Bylaw, 2019" and approved the Cannabis Retail Store Policy on December 2, 2019. View the January 2020 Bulletin for a summary of the new regulations and next steps.

Timeline: Fall 2019 (complete)

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Application process for Cannabis Retail Stores

A consolidated intake and competitive review process for applications is underway based on Council's Cannabis Retail Store Policy (C005-11). 8 applications were received during the intake period (February 3 - May 1, 2020). On July 6, 2020, staff introduced the applications to Council in Report PDS 079-2020; view the presentation slides here or watch the meeting (start at 4:10 pm). 

At the July 6 meeting, Council passed a resolution to gather the views of residents with respect to 7 of the 8 applications. Input was gathered through online comment forms, e-mails, letters, and in-person comments at a Council Hearing on July 20, 2020. to watch the Council Hearing, click here and start at 7:40 pm.

The Application Process is now in Step 4 - Evaluation and Recommendations. In this step, staff will complete a full and comprehensive evaluation of the applications based on Council's Cannabis Retail Store Policy. Once this is complete, staff will prepare a summary report to Council (targeted for Fall 2020)

Timeline: 2020 (underway)

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Links to BC Government and Federal Government

Visit the BC Government's 'Get Cannabis Clarity' website and the Federal Government's 'Cannabis in Canada' website for information regarding non-medical cannabis laws, regulations, guidelines, licensing and other details.

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