Ian Morrison is the chairman of the CVRD. (Submitted photo)

Ian Morrison is the chairman of the CVRD. (Submitted photo)

CVRD working towards amended bylaws for cannabis cultivation and sale

Staff to be given discretionary power to evaluate complaints unless property is not properly zoned

The Cowichan Valley Regional District’s board of directors has taken another step towards effectively managing the legalization of cannabis within its electoral areas.

Earlier this year, the board amended the eight Electoral Area Zoning Bylaws to regulate the production and sale of cannabis, in advance of the Cannabis Act that took effect on Oct. 17. Recognizing that federal and provincial regulations are evolving and will necessitate further amendments to CVRD zoning bylaws specific to cannabis, the board has adopted the Cannabis Regulation Bylaw Enforcement Policy.

“It’s imperative that our bylaw and enforcement staff have the appropriate tools to do their job and can spend their limited time pursuing legitimate complaints,” said Ian Morrison, chair of the Cowichan Valley Regional District. “In the case of cannabis regulation, we want to ensure that during this transitional period we are working towards bylaws that are closely aligned with senior government legislation, while being sensitive to our community standards and expectations.”

The policy provides bylaw enforcement staff with discretionary power to evaluate complaints regarding property used for cannabis production and storefront retail, unless the subject property is not zoned for commercial or industrial use. Complaints regarding health and safety bylaw violations will be investigated and enforced, and the CVRD may amend or repeal the Cannabis Regulation Bylaw Enforcement Policy in the future.

CVRD staff is currently engaged with municipal counterparts and the RCMP to better understand how its bylaws can best align with other regulatory agencies, while serving the needs of its communities. In the coming months, the CVRD will be contemplating amendments to its electoral area zoning bylaws specific to cannabis regulation and working with residents to take advantage of the economic opportunities of cannabis production and sale.