Why Talk Cannabis?

This engagement seeks to consult the citizens of Fort St. John and ask for public feedback on the placement of cannabis retail stores.

  • Upon federal and provincial legalization (anticipated in summer 2018), the consumption, purchase and sale of recreational (non-medical) cannabis will be legal.
  • The provincial government of BC will be responsible for the wholesale distribution of recreational cannabis through the Liquor Distribution Branch and will be the operator of government-run retail stores.
  • The BC Liquor Control and Licensing Branch will be responsible for the licensing and monitoring the retail sector using a mixed public/private model.
  • The province has indicated that local governments will have the ability to further regulate cannabis retail stores with additional requirements such as location and number of stores.

The City of Fort St. John wants to be proactive, transparent, and engaging with our community.  The City of Fort St. John has decided to consider further regulating cannabis retail stores and through consultation with the community is seeking public feedback to create possible zoning regulations for cannabis retail stores.

Here’s a background summary of key federal and provincial information shared and City actions since the introduction of the Cannabis Act: Information on federal and provincial reports is available under the ‘Learn More’ tab.

April 13, 2017, Government of Canada introduced Bill C-45 (Cannabis Act)

November 2017, Health Canada releases a consultation paper on proposed cannabis regulations

January 8, 2018, City provides comment to Health Canada on proposed federal regulations

January 26, 2018, City attends a legal seminar “Local Government Workshop: Getting Ready for Cannabis in North East BC”

January 31, 2018, City participates in a webinar “Cannabis Legalization and Regulation in BC: What Planners Need to Know”

February 5, 2018, Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General publish a news release outlining some of the Province’s proposed cannabis legislation

March 26, 2018, City begins discussions through a Zoning Bylaw Amendment and proposing a staged process for regulation

April 26, 2018, Province of BC introduced Bill 30-2018 (Cannabis Control and Licensing Act) and Bill 31-2018 (Cannabis Distribution Act)

May 14, 2018, City continues discussions for direction on a staged process, zoning parameters and engagement process

Action & Process

Here’s an overview of the City’s actions on cannabis and Engagement Plan to seek public feedback on the regulation of cannabis retail stores:

  • 2016-2018: Research & collect information on emerging federal and provincial cannabis regulations
  • March-May 2018: Initiate discussion & seek direction from Council on possible cannabis zoning regulations, specifically for cannabis retail store
  • May & June 2018: Seek public feedback through planned engagement activities on possible cannabis zoning regulations
  • May & June 2018: Collect and examine public feedback for proposed cannabis zoning regulations
  • July 2018: Consideration of proposed cannabis zoning regulations by Council for addition to the Zoning Bylaw (allows use and location of cannabis retail stores)
  • July 2018: Bylaw adoption process add regulations to the Zoning Bylaw prior to the legalization of cannabis.

For more information on ways to provide feedback and a schedule of engagement activities, go to the Feedback tab.

Allowing Cannabis Retail Stores

Here’s an overview of the possible cannabis zoning regulations for public feedback:

  1. Clearly define cannabis retail stores
  2. Permitted commercial zones for cannabis retail stores, and if so:
    1. Identify any distances from schools
    2. Identify any distances from parks
    3. Identify any distances between other cannabis retail stores

Next Steps

Endorsement of Engagement Plan & Possible Cannabis Zoning Regulations to raise for Public Feedback

Seek Public Feedback

Collect Feedback (see What We Heard Tab for results) & Draft Zoning Amendment Bylaw

Council Considers Draft Zoning Amendment Bylaw

Bylaw Readings & Adoption

  • A Public Hearing is scheduled for July 23, 2018 at 6pm, City Hall Council Chambers.  This is a public opportunity for comments to be provided to Council or to present written submissions for the Zoning Amendment Bylaw.  Copies of the proposed bylaw and related documents may be viewed at City Hall (10631 100 Street) between 8:30am to 4:30 pm from July 16 to 23, 2018.
  • Here are 2 maps being shared for clarification:

Map showing available C2 (Downtown Core) zoned lots, 200 metres from Schools & 100m metres from P (Parks & Natural Areas) zoned lots.  Cannabis_C2 zoned lots_200m Schools_100m Parks_36x42

Map showing available C2 zoned lots only. Cannabis_available C2 zoned lots-MAP_36x42


Legalization of Cannabis

What we heard!

Here’s a summary of what we heard during the public feedback events:

  • Over 700 responses received through the online survey
  • Over 100 responses received through the interactive Dotmocracy events

In which retail zones should cannabis retail stores be permitted?

34% said C2 Downtown Commercial Zone

29% said C3 General Commercial Zone

22% said C4 Service Commercial Zone

15% said C1 Neighbourhood Commercial Zone


How Far Should Cannabis Retail Stores be From Schools?

A 200 metre setback from schools is the preferred option.


How Far Should Cannabis Retail Stores be From Parks?

52% of respondents said a 200 metre setback from parks is the preferred option; and

48% of respondents said a 100 metre setback or less from parks is the preferred option.


How Far Should a Cannabis Retail Store be From Another Cannabis Retail Store?

47% of respondents said a 200 metre setback from other Cannabis Retail stores is the preferred option; and

53% of respondents said a 100 metre setback or less from other cannabis stores is the preferred option, with 36% of those respondents saying a Zero (0) metre setback is preferred.


If Council was to consider a smoking bylaw, as it relates to the smoking and vaping of cannabis, do you feel that the provincial legislation is adequate?

83% of respondents said that the provincial legislation on the public consumption of cannabis is sufficient and that the City does not need to implement additional smoking regulations related to cannabis.