How should Port Coquitlam regulate retail sales of cannabis? With the Cannabis Act set to take effect Oct. 17, the city is consulting the public during September through an online survey and open house.
Similar to how the City regulates liquor sales, Port Coquitlam is proposing to establish policies and regulations to evaluate proposed cannabis retail locations, and require any potential sites to be approved through a site-specific bylaw amendment. This would allow Council to consider potential community impacts, receive public feedback and set conditions on a case-by-case basis.
Interested residents and businesses are encouraged to learn more about the proposed regulations and policies at www.portcoquitlam.ca/cannabis and take the online survey by Oct. 1.
The city is also hosting an open house on Sept. 26, 5 to 7 p.m. at the Gathering Place in Leigh Square, where attendees will be able to learn more about the proposed policies and regulations, view displays, speak to staff and provide feedback.
Port Coquitlam’s proposed requirements include locating cannabis retail outlets in commercial areas and a prescribed distance away from schools, playgrounds, community centres and sports fields.
The public would also have a say in each application, both through the site’s rezoning process and a requirement for applicants to consult with nearby residents and businesses.
If a site is approved for rezoning, Council may impose requirements such as posting of signage about the city’s smoking restrictions, installation of an air filtration system to limit odour, an appealing storefront that is consistent with the character of neighbouring buildings, discreet signage and a community benefit that could include funding for programs or services.
Customers would not be allowed to sample or use cannabis at the outlets. In addition, Port Coquitlam’s new Smoking Control Bylaw prohibits smoking and vaping, including cannabis, in places of assembly (e.g. a hall), parks and playgrounds, outdoor public spaces, at building entrances, near bus stops and other locations.
Further information about the proposed approval process can be found at www.portcoquitlam.ca/cannabis. The city plans to consider potential changes to its policies, regulations and Zoning Bylaw this fall, after the public consultation process wraps up Oct. 1.