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Victoria Medical Cannabis City Hall Meeting

By admin | February 11, 2016

Regulating Medical Marijuana Related Businesses in Victoria

The City of Victoria is currently exploring potential regulations for the operation of medical marijuana-related businesses.  The purpose of the regulations is to reduce community impacts of these businesses, while maintaining access to medical marijuana.

For the next three weeks, residents and business owners are invited to learn more and share feedback through an online survey and an open house and town hall.

About Medical Marijuana:

Medical marijuana is regulated by Health Canada. Under current Health Canada regulations medical marijuana can be prescribed and then ordered from a licensed producer. Mail order is the only approved way to purchase medical marijuana.

Although some storefront retailers are currently selling marijuana, none have a Health Canada licence that permits this. The federal government has indicated that they will be exploring options to legalize marijuana during their term.

Over the course of the last year, there has been a significant increase in the number of marijuana-related businesses operating in the City of Victoria.  It is estimated that there are currently 30 medical marijuana-related businesses in Victoria, with approximately 26 of these operating as storefront medical marijuana retailers.

Public Input to Date:

In the fall of 2015, community concerns and benefits relating to the storefront sale of medical marijuana were identified. Over 80% of survey respondents seemed generally supportive of moving towards the regulation of medical marijuana-related businesses.  There was strong support for:
-age restrictions
-standard security measures
-discreet signage and advertising
-odor control
-limiting the number and location of storefronts selling medical marijuana
-focusing on customers with a medical need
-some concern about developing regulations for an activity that is currently not legal in Canada.

The full engagement summary is available here: Medical Marijuana Engagement Summary Report.pdf [PDF - 7.9 MB]


Proposed Regulations:

The proposed regulations distinguish between several different types of medical marijuana-related businesses:

The City is considering the following regulations:

Proposed Regulations to address health and safety concerns:

a)     Medical marijuana-related businesses must not allow individuals under the age of 19 on the premises.

b)     Medical marijuana-related businesses must not advertise or promote the use of marijuana to a minor, including through product displays, names, logos or other signage.  Minors should not be able to determine that a business is selling medical marijuana based on signage, displays or advertising that can easily be viewed by a minor.

c)     Storefront medical marijuana retailers must not sell any food products other than tinctures, capsules or edible oils.

d)     Storefront medical marijuana retailers must post health and safety warning signs on the premises, such as:
- Marijuana is not an approved drug or medicine in Canada.
- Products have not been authorized for sale under the Food and Drugs Act.  They have not been assessed for safety or efficacy to treat or prevent any disease or symptom.
- Marijuana can impair concentration, coordination and judgment.  Do not operate a vehicle or machinery under the influence of marijuana products.
- For use only by adults 19 and older.  Keep out of reach from children.

e)     Storefront medical marijuana retailers must not deliver or mail products to customers.


Proposed regulations to address neighbourhood impacts:

f) Storefront medical marijuana retailersmust be at least 200 m from schools and other storefront medical marijuana retailers. (In practice, this would be accomplished through changes to the City’s zoning regulation bylaw.  There are a number of factors that would impact whether or not rezoning would be required for existing retailers.)

g) Medical marijuana-related businesses must not allow the consumption of marijuana on the premises.

h) Any business that keeps marijuana on the premises must install and maintain an air filtration system to ensure odour impacts on neighbouring properties are minimized.

Proposed regulations to address security concerns:

i)       Storefront medical marijuana retailers must not be open for business between 8 p.m. and 7 a.m.

j)       No other business can be conducted on the premises of a storefront medical marijuana retailer.

k)     Storefront medical marijuana retailers must implement the following measures to deter criminal activity while the business is open to the public:
-At least two employees must be on duty, and
-Windows must not be blocked

l)       Any business that keeps marijuana on the premises must submit the following as part of their initial business licence application and on each renewal:
-A security plan
-Police information check for the applicant and every on-site manager
-Proof of a security alarm contract
-Proof of ownership or legal possession of the premises, including the written consent of the landlord if the premises are leased

m)   Any business that keeps marijuana on the premises must implement the following security measures:
-Video surveillance cameras must be installed and monitored.
-A security and fire alarm system must be installed and monitored at all times.
-Valuables must be removed from the business premises or locked in a safe on the business premises at all times when the business is not in operation.

n)     The proposed business licence fee range for storefront medical marijuana retailers has been determined based upon an estimate of the costs required to administer this type of licence, on a cost recovery basis.

Proposed annual licence fee:
0) At this time, it is anticipated that the annual licence fee for storefront medical marijuana retailers would likely be between $4,000 and $5,000.

Further details about these proposed regulations are included in this Governance and Priorities Committee report: Medical Marijuana Nov 19 Report.pdf [PDF - 3.4 MB]

Have Your Say:

The next step is to collect broad community feedback about these proposed regulations relating to the operation of medical marijuana-related businesses in Victoria.

Community members are invited to share their feedback through a survey and an open house and town hall this February on February 22.

Open House and Town Hall

Learn more about the proposed regulations at an Open House and then share your feedback directly at a Town Hall with Mayor and Council.

Date: Monday, February 22, 2016
Open House: 6:00 – 7:00 pm
Town Hall: 7:00 p.m.
Location: Victoria City Hall, 1 Centennial Square


You can complete the survey here.  It will be open until midnight on Friday, March 4.

Thank you for your interest in this important topic.

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