Feb 14, 2020

Retail Cannabis Licences: How the Town processes applications referred from the Province

Recreational cannabis was legalized by the federal government in October 2018, however the opening of retail stores is still relatively new in some British Columbia communities as more licences are issued by the provincial government.

Below is an overview on how applications for non-medical cannabis retail stores are processed in BC, and more specifically in Ladysmith.  

1) Province receives an application - All completed applications for non-medical cannabis stores are initially received by the Province and include required information such as details about the proposed location.

Before a retail cannabis store licence is issued by the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch of BC (LCRB), a local government or Indigenous nation must provide a positive recommendation.   The Province cannot issue a licence without local government support.

Applicants must also consent to a security screening and financial integrity checks, among other requirements.

Once a completed application is processed by the Province it is then forwarded to the Town of Ladysmith for consideration. The Province does not complete its review of the application until after the Town has commented.

2) Town reviews the application - Once the Town receives an application for a retail cannabis store licence from the Province, staff then respond to the LCRB explaining whether we'll consider the proposal, or not.

The Town also requires that the applicant pay a $2,000 fee plus any advertising and delivery expenses once we receive the documentation.  The fee levied by the Town is calculated based on an estimate of the costs for us to review the application.

Advertising and delivery expenses include costs such as mail notifications which are delivered to addresses within 60 metres of the proposed location as well as newspaper ads that must be published prior to Council's consideration of the application. 

Council approved amendments to the Zoning Bylaw in January 2020 to permit the retail sale of cannabis in specified areas of Town, including:  in the downtown area between Esplanade Avenue , First Avenue, Ludlow Road and Baden Powell Street, as well as Coronation Square and along Rocky Creek Road. 

The application must comply with the Zoning Bylaw for the Town to consider it.  

3) Council considers the application - Staff then prepare a report for Council and it's added to an upcoming Council meeting agenda.

Notices are published for two consecutive weeks in the Ladysmith-Chemainus Chronicle newspaper. The Town also distribute the same information to addresses within 60 metres of the proposed location.

The notices include information on where to find out more about the application and how a resident can submit any feedback for Council's consideration.

The Town's policy is to receive only written submissions on proposed retail cannabis store applications.  Unlike with a public hearing,  there will not be an opportunity for oral submissions at the Council meeting when the application is being considered.

Residents and businesses wanting to express their opinions about the application must ensure their written submissions are received by the Town before the deadline posted in the notice.  

These written submissions, which form the public record, can be sent to Town of Ladysmith, PO Box 220, Ladysmith, BC V9G 1A2 or by Fax to 250-245-6411 or by Email to info@ladysmith.ca, or hand delivered to 410 Esplanade Avenue.

4) Town responds to the Province - Following a resolution from Council, staff are required to prepare a report for the Province that includes Council's resolution(s) and a copy of the staff report.

Under the provincial framework, the Town is also required to gather the views of residents on each application and provide these to the LCRB.

Did you find this information helpful ? Email info@ladysmith.ca to provide us with your feedback.