FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – At this time next year, marijuana is expected to be legalized federally and the City of Fort St. John is making sure they are well prepared.
Fort St. John Mayor Lori Ackerman says that close to one month ago, local governments from across the region met in Fort St. John to learn more about what they could expect to come down from the cannabis act.
“It is targeted for July of 2018, and when it comes through, it is anticipated that local government is going to have the jurisdiction over business licensing and zoning for retail marijuana. The local governments in British Columbia, including the Regional District, do have authority for business licensing and zoning.”
The City of Fort St. John will be sending the following questions to the Peace River Regional District for clarification:
- Has the development of an inspections and investigations bylaws as indicated in Schedule 4 of the Rural Fire Protection Services Agreement that would allow Fort St. John with the legal authority to inspect commercial, industrial and public building in the Rural Fire Protection Area for proposes of fire pre-planning and Fire Code compliance to ensure the safety of their members been started
- Is the Regional District contemplating a business licence bylaw for unincorporated areas since business licensing is one mechanism to regulate all businesses
- Is the North Peace Area Fringe Bylaw going to be updated to identify future land use area(s) that would allow for retail marijuana stores
- Has planning commenced to address what bylaw enforcement’s role would be for businesses operating in contravention
Ackerman used the example of fireworks when it comes to the city and the Peace River Regional District.
“Fireworks are not allowed in the City of Fort St. John, unless they are put on by the city. You can set off fireworks in the Regional District. They have no perimeters around setting off fireworks. You cannot buy fireworks in the City of Fort St. John but you can pop outside of the City of Fort St. John and purchase them and set off your own fireworks.
There has been incidents across the nation where there has been liability situations with a spark from the fireworks landing on someones asphalt shingles and you’ve got a fire.
That is why we are asking about this. As we start moving towards what is the City going to do, we would like to know what our neighbouring jurisdictions are going to do.”
She also noted that while it is not currently legal, that doesn’t mean that the city has ignored the issue.
“We’ve not been ignoring this. This is something that we have been working on for a while now. It is not legal yet, we want to be ready when it is.”