While possession of marijuana may now be legal, you can’t just go around smoking it wherever you want, nor can you just set up shop anywhere in town to sell it.
The city has passed its restrictions on where retailers will be allowed to locate, as well as changed its Parks Control and Smoking Regulation bylaws to add the smoking of cannabis in public to the list of infractions punishable by a fine.
The city’s Parks Control Bylaw, which regulates behaviour in city parks and areas designated for use by the general public, has seen the phrase “Unlawfully consume liquor” changed to “Unlawfully consume liquor/cannabis” and the penalty for the offence has doubled from $100 to $200.
Under the city’s Smoking Regulation Bylaw, the fine for carrying or possessing burning cannabis in a public place, workplace or educational institution has also been set at $200 – more than double the $75 penalty for smoking tobacco where you’re not allowed.
In terms of where retailers will be allowed to set up shop, under the new regulations cannabis retailers will not be permitted to operate within 300 metres of a school or within 300 metres of another cannabis retailer.
Fines for operating a cannabis store in contravention of this 300-metre buffer from a school or another cannabis store has been set at $500 per day.
During the discussions surrounding the changes, Coun. Charlie Cornfield wanted to know how that could possibly happen, since retailers would need to be approved by the city before they could operate, to which development services supervisor Kevin Brooks responded that it was just being implemented to give the city a mechanism to fine a would-be retail operation should one open up without approval.
The amendments to the city’s Business License Bylaw also allows bylaw officers to fine a cannabis retailer for “excess signage.” Cannabis retailers have been restricted to having only one sign per premises and have transparent storefronts, but not allow any product to be actually visible from the street.
In order to receive a license to operate, a cannabis retail store must also supply proof of a 24/7 video surveillance system, provide the RCMP with a list of people proposed to be employed by the business – including names, ages, addresses, criminal record checks and general physical description – as well as notify the license inspector and RCMP of any personnel changes within two business days of any changes being made.
But there is still no word on when any retailers will be opening up shop in Campbell River.
Brooks told the Mirror back in October that three applications had been received by the city. If approved, the city would see two private stores and one government-run retailer open in town – one in Campbellton, one in Willow Point and one in the Discovery Harbour Shopping Centre.
“If council then gives the green light on that, then we send our resolution back to the province for the issuance of a license from the province,” Brooks said at the time. “Once they receive that, we issue our business license to them and they can open.”
Watch the Mirror for updates as this process continues.