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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.

The November 18, 2019 Public Hearing can be viewed online (start at 7:36 pm). After the 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

On January 13, 2020, staff presented an update to Council regarding the Application Process for Cannabis Retail Stores. Please refer to Council Report PDS 009-2020 and the presentation for details. 

The application process commenced February 3, 2020 with a consolidated intake period. The intake was originally scheduled to close April 3, 2020; however, as a result of COVID-19 and the associated closure of City Hall to the public, the application period was extended by one month, to May 1, 2020. This extension provided additional time for proponents to complete and submit their applications, and for staff to review for completeness. Please view the March 24, 2020 bulletin for more information.

Eight applications for cannabis retail stores were submitted during the intake period. Staff are now working on screening these applications as per Section 10 of Council’s Cannabis Retail Store Policy. The next step is an introduction report to Council this summer with an opportunity for public input to follow. For more information, please contact staff at planning-info@abbotsford.ca or 604-864-5510.

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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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