Nanaimo’s Cannabis Bylaw Preview

Talk of preparing for legalization of cannabis in Nanaimo first came up at the council table while the events centre referendum was the hot topic last year.

Nanaimo finally has some guidelines for basing cannabis sales off of and changes to the bylaws regarding producing cannabis after last night’s city council meeting.

First, it’s important to understand that some terminology has changed in Nanaimo’s bylaws. Medical Marihuana, either production or growing, will now be referred to as Cannabis, either production or processing. Additionally, dispensaries will be referred to as Cannabis Retail Stores or CRS for short, providing a separate definition than a regular retail store.

Cannabis production in Nanaimo is still governed under the guidelines of the Federal Cannabis Act, known as Bill C-45. The Act controls the definition of cannabis legal for recreational usage when combined with Bill C-46, an Act to Amend the Criminal Code. Bill C-45 has received Royal Assent and comes into effect on October 17th, 2018.

To better understand the entire process, note that the federal government downloaded responsibilities to the provinces, who in turn can allow each municipality to create it’s own set of rules regarding sales, distribution, production and processing of cannabis.

The British Columbia Cannabis Control and Licensing Act, Bill 30, governs where cannabis is sold or otherwise provided in the province. Bill 30 enables municipalities to create their own set of rules, again following guidelines set out.

Farmers Lab Seeds

Farmers Lab Seeds

Finally, the city of Nanaimo has enacted Cannabis Zoning Criteria and amended Bylaw 4500.127, some of which was covered under definition changes. While not yet finalized, we can share the draft versions and highlight the changes Nanaimo council made in its decision last night, documented as drafts 18715, 18716 and 18717. Notably, again, those are draft copies and not a final copy. We will update this article as information becomes available on the city’s website.

Microprocessors, federally allotted a growing space of up to 200 square meters, will be allowed to grow in buildings located on Nanaimo properties that are zoned i1 or i2, our light and small industrial zones. This bylaw adoption opens up cannabis production in these zones without city approval.

Allowance in i4 industrial zones is now open so Licensed Producers or recreational growers can now operate without requiring cannabis specific approval from the city of Nanaimo while provincial and federal laws remain in effect.

Schools and daycares will be provided a 200 meter CRS free zone, as amended at last night’s council meeting. Discussion revealed that bylaw is from the edge of the school or daycare property to the front door of the CRS.

Previously, requests have been made by B.C. municipalities asking the province to return up to 40% of tax revenue from cannabis sales back to the municipality.


Zoning Amendment Bylaw 2018 No. 4500.127


Cannabis zoning criteria