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City posts first draft of Fort St. John cannabis retail bylaw

A map of the City of Fort St. John showing all properties where cannabis retail operations would be permitted under the proposed bylaw, with a 200 metre buffer around all schools in the City. Photo by City of Fort St. John.
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FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — The City has published the first draft of a bylaw that would govern the operation of recreational cannabis retail operations in Fort St. John, ahead of two special council meetings next Tuesday.

The City will be hosting the special Committee of the Whole and Special Council meetings next Tuesday, beginning at 3:00 p.m. at City Hall. In her delegation to Council, planner Ashley Murphey will be presenting both a draft of the new bylaw, and staff’s plan on how the City will engage in with residents about new bylaw.

In her report to Council, Murphey says that the City will be holding a short online survey, as well as two Dotmocracy events. The City will be asking for residents’ feedback on the definition of a ‘cannabis retail operation,’ as well as their thoughts on zones where such operations would be permitted, the setback distance from schools, parks, and between other operations. 

Included in Murphey’s presentation are a series of maps showing all parks and schools in the City, along with all C2, C3, and C4 properties where cannabis operations would be permitted. Those maps also show the different proposed buffer zones of 0, 50, 100, and 200 metres from all parks and schools, highlighting properties where cannabis retail would not be able to operate.

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The tentative plan, if approved by Council, would be to launch the online public engagement on the City’s Let’s Talk website next Wednesday, with the two Dotmocracy events taking place on May 24th and May 26th. Location of the first event has yet to be determined, while the second event would coincide with the farmer’s market and take place from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

After public consultations end on May 30th, the bylaw is scheduled to get its first three readings on June 11th, before a public hearing on June 25th. Provided the City doesn’t receive sufficient opposition at that public hearing, the bylaw would pass third reading and be adopted on June 25th.

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Council has asked staff to have the bylaw finalized before the date recreational cannabis is legalized, which is targeted by the federal government for July 1st. 

Copies of the presentation and the proposed draft bylaw can be found here:

https://fortstjohn.civicweb.net/FileStorage/D26013EF353A4F9196A5E290F40BB8C1-AB.pdf

https://fortstjohn.civicweb.net/FileStorage/FEF4D15B6BE44C3E8EF46EEFC5B4FFD7-AB.pdf

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