Saanich staff are paying attention to Victoria’s new pot bylaw, but it is not clear how much influence, it will have on the municipality, and the public could learn Saanich’s approach towards recreational marijuana in early 2019.
“Each local government has unique factors to consider in regulating recreational cannabis,” said Megan Catalano, a spokesperson for the District of Saanich. “Staff are working on a report that examines options for regulation in Saanich. Staff are aware of and reviewing the approaches of other municipalities throughout the Capital Regional District and the [province] and expect to have that before [council] for consideration in [early] 2019.”
Victoria councillors heard earlier this week that the existing bylaw no longer applies following the legalization of recreational marijuana.
Under the new system, applicants for a private retail license apply to Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch (LCRB). It then submits the application to local municipalities for comment prior to final approval.
Victoria’s decision to revise its recreational marijuana bylaw scheduled for final approval on Nov. 22 shows that the two largest municipalities in the region are moving at different rates.
Saanich issued a “full” prohibition of the sale, production and distribution of recreational cannabis this summer until staff have had an opportunity to review federal and provincial legislation.
“Staff recommend the prohibition of sale, production [and] distribution of recreational cannabis,” said Sharon Hvozdanski, Saanich’s director of planning in the report at the time.
As of Nov. 6, the provincial government has received 165 paid but incomplete applications for private marijuana retail licenses, with 102 now in front of local government or Indigenous Nation. Thirty have originated from applicants in an administrative region that includes Vancouver Island, Powell River, and the Gulf Island.
So far the provincial government has issued one private retail license to a business in Kimberley.