Campbell River City Council To Ban Cannabis Operations

The B.C. town of Campbell River, where a dispensary was raided by authorities last week, is now looking at zoning changes that would make the cannabis shops completely illegal.

On Monday, council gave second reading to a bylaw change that would restrict any cannabis operation in the town that wasn’t approved by Health Canada.

“The city has received numerous inquiries from organizations to open and operate unauthorized marihuana operations within the city,” read a report from development services supervisor Kevin Brooks. “The retail sale of cannabis is currently illegal in Canada pursuant to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.

Brooks wrote that organizations opening dispensaries and other cannabis-related businesses without federal approval create issues for municipalities.

“Enforcement falls upon local RCMP and communities, resulting in increased strain on city resources,” wrote Brooks. “In some communities this enforcement has led to injunctive action resulting in increased legal costs.”

Brooks recommended that Campbell River, unlike other cities like Vancouver or Victoria that have created a regulatory system for themselves without federal oversight, change bylaws to outright criminalize land from cannabis use.

“To provide greater clarification around Medical Marihuana Production regulations and how the city with regulate marihuana operations, staff propose to formally recognize MMPR by adding a definition of marihuana operations to the Zoning Bylaw,” Brooks recommended in his report. “This will provide greater clarity to the community and businesses on how this use will be regulated within the City of Campbell River.”

The zoning changes added a section that defined cannabis operations as “cultivating, growing, producing, packaging, storing, distributing, dispensing, destroying, trading or selling of cannabis (Marihuana) or its derivatives” and that any of these uses are prohibited.

Campbell River mayor Andy Adams said that the city will change its rules on cannabis again, once the federal government creates a system for cannabis regulation and legalization.

“There’s no question the world is changing in this regard,” Adams said. “What we’re saying is that the city of Campbell River will be ready to make amendments to the bylaw as soon as there’s clarity from the federal and provincial governments.”

The city will now hold an Apr. 25 public hearing on the amendments before the bylaw goes into effect.