A cannabis policy will be heading to Gibsons council for adoption after councillors reviewed a survey sent to stakeholders and the public.
The cannabis policy will guide decision making on retail and production facilities in the town. Councillors reviewed the policy and survey at a June 2 planning and development committee meeting.
Of the 72 respondents to the survey circulated from April 20 to May 20, 63 per cent supported a 150-metre buffer from schools, and 31 per cent wanted a further distance. Sixty-one per cent of respondents favoured a 100-metre distance between cannabis retail sites, while 39 per cent opposed that idea, “noting competition is good,” according to a June 2 staff report summarizing results.
Most people, 86 per cent, supported only allowing stores in “Mixed-Use Commercial” Official Community Plan (OCP) areas.
In terms of facilities that produce cannabis, 66 per cent wanted to see them kept to Service Commercial/Business Centre lands. About 46 per cent of respondents wanted a buffer from schools of more than 150 metres, 42 per cent were satisfied with that distance, and 11 per cent thought it should be less than 150 metres.
Forty-six per cent didn’t want there to be a limit on the number of production facilities.
In response to the feedback, staff suggested removing the 100-metre distance requirement between production facilities.
“I think the policy is good,” said Mayor Bill Beamish, referring to the policy overall. He said he would like to see a limit in the total number of production facilities in the town and would be “quite comfortable” with the higher limit of four for the first three years after the policy comes into effect. After a vote, that option was added to the policy.
Coun. Aleria Ladwig said her only concern with the policy was the 150-metre distance from schools. “I think that probably makes a lot of sense in other municipalities where the school isn’t located in the middle of the commercial core,” she said, but added that it might be easier for retailers to sell to minors or “be a bad apple” if they are pushed away from the core area.
Coun. David Croal commended staff that they now have “a working document we can go forward with.”