City of Nanaimo Cannabis Bylaws and Zoning Regulations 

Recently, the City of Nanaimo council passed a motion to approve cannabis production, retail sales and consumption, under federal and provincial regulation. Let’s sort out some of the regulations on personal consumption, growing cannabis in Nanaimo and starting a Cannabis Retail Store, CRS for short. According to City of Nanaimo staff, the application process may take anywhere between 6 to 12 months, beginning Monday, October 22nd.

Running a Cannabis Retail Store in Nanaimo 

Thinking of starting up a cannabis business in Nanaimo, B.C.?

Nanaimo Cannabis Business Startup Information

Here’s what you need to know about starting a cannabis business in Nanaimo. We have created a guide for potential cannabis production and retail startups to have all relevant City of Nanaimo documents required, at hand, one a single page. This page covers the specific details rezoning required to have a cannabis business in Nanaimo and links to the required pages to start a cannabis business in British Columbia. All details provided by the City of Nanaimo regarding cannabis are on this page. Some sections contain detailed steps and flow charts according to the requirements of getting a cannabis business licensed in Nanaimo.

Following down the page, click on the arrow on the right side of each sections heading to expand or close it.

City of Nanaimo – Doing business – Cannabis Retail Stores


Nanaimo Cannabis Bylaw 4500.127

Understanding Nanaimo’s Cannabis Bylaws


Nanaimo’s Cannabis Bylaw No. 4500.127 is difficult follow as it is an amendment to previous bylaw. Skunk Island helps to sort that out in our previous article, PREVIEW NANAIMO’S CANNABIS BYLAW


City of Nanaimo Bylaw 4500


What Steps are Required to Open a Cannabis Retail Store in Nanaimo? 

The City of Nanaimo CRS Rezoning Application Checklist

See CRS Rezoning Application Checklist

  1. LCRB Cannabis Licence Application confirmation received
  2. Completed CRS Rezoning Application Form
  3. Completed CRS Rezoning Application Checklist
  4. Copy of title search and all relevant registered covenants (as listed on the title)
  5. BC company search
  6. Rezoning rationale – must address potential impacts to neighbourhood and
  7. CRS rezoning criteria
  8. Site plan
  9. Aerial plan – illustrating the required 200m buffer from schools/daycares and the 200m buffer from another cannabis store
  10. Conceptual building elevations / renderings
  11. Parking plan
  12. Floor layout drawings
  13. Appointment of Agent form &/or landlord consent (required if you are not the owner of the property)
  14. Application fee ($1,000 – text amendments)
  15. Community contribution proposal (as per the Official Community Plan)

Steps For City Staff Only

  1. Pre-application meeting with Current Planning staff
  2. Community Vitality Committee review
  3. Community Planning and Development Committee review
  4. Public Hearing fee received

Crop King Marijuana Seeds

Crop King Marijuana Seeds

Nanaimo CRS Rezoning Criteria 

Cannabis Retail Rezoning Criteria




The following policy was endorsed by the City of Nanaimo Council on September 17, 2018. The intent of this policy is to be used to guide Staff and Council in considering CRS rezoning applications.


1. Location

1.1. The proposed CRS should be located on, or in close proximity to, a provincial highway, urban arterial or urban major collector road, as defined in the City’s Functional Road Classification Working Plan, or in an urban node, commercial centre or corridor, as designated in the City’s Official Community Plan.

1.2. The proposed CRS should not be located directly adjacent, or in close proximity to a school or licensed daycare facility. A minimum separation of 200m from these facilities is considered necessary, as measured from the front door of the CRS to the school or daycare property line.

1.3. The proposed CRS should not be located within 200m of another CRS as measured from the front doors of the CRS. Where the CRS is to be located within a dense urban area (ie: downtown) consideration shall be given to the overall urban density and context of the area.

2. Building & Site

2.1. The size of the proposed CRS should be consistent with the nature of the immediate area and the size of existing retail stores within the area.

2.2. The design of the proposed CRS should enhance or improve the aesthetics of the surrounding area, not detract from them.

2.2.1. The revitalization of heritage buildings is encouraged.

2.3. Outside the downtown core, consideration should be given to a requirement for onsite parking and loading for every CRS.

3. Community Impact

3.1. The applicant must outline his or her awareness of potential negative impacts of the proposed CRS on the community, and must identify the specific measures that will be taken to minimize or prevent these impacts from occurring.



3.1.1. Possible measures could include efforts to prevent service to minors, minimize smells, prevent smoking or cannabis consumption on or near the premises, property maintenance and beautification programs designed to prevent unsightliness, etc.

3.1.2 Consideration must be given to the impact CRS’s will have when they are located in close proximity to libraries, public recreation centres, public community centres, parks, places of worship and other family-oriented facilities.

3.2. Projected traffic volumes and on-street parking demands associated with a proposed CRS should not adversely impact nearby residential and commercial areas.

3.3. The support of the local community, neighbouring property owners and the local neighbourhood association for the proposed CRS is important to Council’s decision.

3.3.1. The applicant is required to notify all neighbouring property owners within 200m of the subject property of the rezoning application, prior to the application proceeding to Council.

3.4. All rezoning applications for CRS’s must be reviewed by the Community Vitality Committee and the RCMP, in addition to being reviewed by the City’s Community Planning and Development Committee.


In order to be considered, each rezoning application for a CRS must be accompanied by a number of specific items, in addition to the standard items which must accompany all rezoning applications. In all, each rezoning application for a CRS must include:

~ a copy of the Provincial preliminary letter of approval for the proposed CRS with a description of the proposed CRS outlining:

  •  the proposed size of the facility;
  •  the facility’s proposed operating hours;
  •  the specific market segment being targeted; and,
  •  measures taken to minimize odours associated with cannabis.

~ a community impact statement that outlines the proposed CRS’s potential:

  •  positive impacts on the community;
  •  negative impacts on the community; and,
  •  measures to be taken to prevent and/or address the negative impacts.


City of Nanaimo – Cannabis Rezoning Criteria


CRS Rezoning Signage Requirements

What Public Notice Signage Needs to be Posted?

Cannabis Retail Store Rezoning Signage Requirements

The City of Nanaimo Development Approval Procedures and Notification Bylaw requires the following signage as part of the rezoning process:

Where an application has been received, and/or Council has introduced a bylaw to amend the Zoning Bylaw or a Land Use Contract, the applicant shall post notice of the application in accordance with the specifications outlined in Schedule E.

For the purpose of posting the notice, an application to amend a Land Use Contract shall be considered a rezoning application.

The notice shall be posted for a minimum of seven days prior to the application advancing to the Community Vitality and the Community Planning and Development committees, as applicable.

The date, time, place and location of the Public Hearing shall be identified on the on-site signage no less than 10 days prior to the scheduled Public Hearing date. Generally, at the time of signage installation, the Public Hearing date is labeled as TBA (To Be Announced).

The Notice shall be posted:

  •  in a location unobstructed to view from the street
  •  no further than six metres from the property line abutting the street
  •  where the property abuts two or more streets, excluding lanes, a sign notice shall be posted no further than six metres from each abutting street or alternatively, from the intersection point of the two streets at a 45 degree angle
  •  where placement of a required notice on a property is not feasible, the notice may be posted on an abutting road right-of-way, subject to approval by the City of Nanaimo
  •  where a property abuts the Nanaimo Parkway and at least one other street, a sign notice is not required to be posted along any property line abutting the Nanaimo Parkway
  •  where the notice is mounted on a building, it shall be unobstructed from the street, and the bottom edge shall be a minimum of 122 centimetres and a maximum of 304 centimetres from the ground

Failure to post the sign in accordance with the bylaw will result in the removal of the bylaw from the agenda of the Public Hearing.

Where a bylaw has been removed from the Public Hearing agenda because of failure to post the notice, a refund of the Public Hearing fee will not be granted.

A bylaw may not be removed from a Public Hearing agenda less than 10 days prior to the Public Hearing date without Council authorization, except where failure to post notice has occurred.

Signage Removal

Please maintain on-site signage until instructed to remove; signage can be removed generally within 30 days after the Public Hearing.


Content from City of Nanaimo


CRS Rezoning Application 

Nanaimo’s Cannabis Retail Store Rezoning Application for opening a cannabis dispensary.

Cannabis Retail Store Rezoning Application


CRS – Appointment of Agent 

For cannabis businesses represented by more than one person or owner.

Cannabis Retail Store Appointment of Agent

Where the applicant is someone other than the owner, and / or where the parcel(s) being developed are owned by more than one person, an Appointment of Agent is required. See the City of Nanaimo CRS – Appointment of Agent form if you have multiple owners in your business or if you are the authorized agent of the owner.


Nanaimo Cannabis Retail Store Rezoning Process

The City of Nanaimo create a handy flowchart for rezoning a location to be a CRS. Here are the steps to rezone for a Cannabis Retail Store in Nanaimo and the PDF file.

Pre-Application Meeting 

  • Prior to submitting a rezoning application, a pre-application meeting with staff is required.


Submit Application

  • Only complete rezoning application packages and those that have been vetted by the LCRB will be accepted.
  • Once accepted, applicant installs rezoning signage at site.

Internal/External Referrals

  • Your application will be reviewed by other City departments and external agencies.


Comprehensive Review

  • Your application will be reviewed to ensure that the requirements of all City bylaws have been addressed.
  • Once complete, a comprehensive letter will be forwarded to you outlining the results of the review.

Committee Review

  • Your application will be forwarded to the Community Vitality Committee and the Community Planning and Development Committee for review and comment.


Council: 1st & 2nd Readings

  • A Staff Report and bylaw will be forwarded to Council for consideration of 1st & 2nd readings (Council receives report).


Public Hearing & 3rd Reading

  • Prior to the Public Hearing: Staff prepares statutory notification and delivers to neighbouring property owners.
  • Applicant is responsible to update on-site rezoning signage and submit public hearing fee.

Council: Bylaw Adoption

  • Council considers 4th reading of the bylaw. If adopted, the rezoning process complete.



Next Steps - Provincial and Municipal

  • The LCRB issues Cannabis Licence
  • Development permit application, if required
  • Building permit application, if required
  • Sign permit, if required
  • Business Licence

Nanaimo city council meeting – Cannabis Bylaws

For more information: BC Government Cannabis