The District of Houston has been preparing for the legalization of pot with a slate of bylaw amendments covering everything from retail to production. (Black Press file photo)

Houston places moratorium on pot businesses

The moratorium will allow the district time to review bylaws

Houston council placed an immediate moratorium on potential marijuana-related businesses last week.

This means that no business licenses for pot-related businesses will be issued until the district enacts bylaws and policies to regulate them.

Houston has been preparing for the legalization of pot with a slate of bylaw amendments covering everything from retail to production.

READ MORE: Getting rolling with pot legalization

According to Jessica Bagnall, Houston’s corporate officer, the moratorium will allow council ample time to review these amended bylaws before they come into effect.

District staff anticipate that the bylaws will be in place as early as August 2018, and made effective after Sept. 1, 2018. In the meantime, the moratorium provides the district with a legislative basis for rejecting consideration of any pot-related businesses.

Bylaws and policies being reviewed include Houston’s development bylaw, business license bylaw, comprehensive fees and changes bylaw, as well as nuisance regulations. In addition, district staff have been busy developing educational materials.

The bylaw amendments are currently being finalized prior to being presented to council for first reading on June 19. Public engagement is expected to begin on June 27, and a public hearing and potential third reading of the bylaws are scheduled for July 17.

According to Gerald Pinchbeck, Houston’s Chief Administrative Officer, proposed cannabis retail businesses would be considered on a case-by-case basis, an approach that would help to make sure that any shops are well-integrated with the surrounding area.

“There are different areas of the community where that business doesn’t mesh very well with the character of the neighbourhood,” he said, noting that some downtown locations are right next to a school or daycare.

“That’s not necessarily where we want that specific business.”

As for pot-growing facilities or distribution warehouses, those would be located in industrial areas that are fairly isolated from the surrounding community. Concerns regarding those industrial facilities would be addressed through business licensing.

Other changes to the bylaws under consideration would address problems stemming from home-grown marijuana, including the skunky smell. This is meant to allow people to “freely enjoy their property without being disturbed by a public nuisance,” said Pinchbeck.

New fees related to commercial cannabis production may also be introduced. Pot-production facilities, if built in Houston, could consume large amounts of water and the district may choose to put new charges in place for that service, added Pinchbeck.

The Government of Canada intends to legalize the use of recreational cannabis late this summer through Bill C-45.

According to the federal government, the objectives of Bill C-45 are to prevent young persons from accessing marijuana,to protect public health and public safety by establishing strict product safety requirements, as well as to deter criminal activity by imposing serious criminal penalties for those operating outside the legal framework.

– With files from David Gordon Koch

Just Posted

Wildfire update for Aug. 19, 2018

Crews hard at work in all sectors today

Wildfire update for Aug. 20, 2018

Nadina Lake:78,002.0 hectares (estimated) Fire Officials are concerned about the inherent safety… Continue reading

Shovel Lake update for Aug. 20, 2018

Shovel Lake Wildfire: 84,793.7 hectares Cause: under investigation still Resources: 229 firefighters,… Continue reading

‘Beauty amongst such tragedy:’ B.C. photographer captures nature’s trifecta

David Luggi’s photo from a beach in Fraser Lake shows Shovel Lake wildfire, Big Dipper and an aurora

Police patrol for looters in evacuated areas south of Burns Lake

RCMP have brought in extra officers for the task

B.C. team stays alive in Little League World Series after another nail-biter

Surrey-based squad scored a 6-4 win over Mexico reps in Williamsport on Monday

Kids, seniors at risk as smoke from distant fires hangs over parts of B.C.

B.C. Centre for Disease Control says children’s lungs don’t fully develop until about age 10

B.C. mother charged in 7-year-old daughter’s death appears in court

The 36-year-old mother, of Langley’s Aaliyah Rosa, has been charged with second-degree murder

VIDEO: Teen soccer phenomenon Alphonso Davies to visit B.C. kids camp

The 17-year-old Vancouver Whitecap player is one of the youngest players in MLS history

New plan to lift more than two million people past the poverty line

Anti-poverty strategy will aim for 50 per cent cut in low-income rates: source

Liberals scrap lottery system for reuniting immigrants with their parents

Lottery for parent sponsorship to be replaced, more applications to be accepted

Bear kills off-leash dog in B.C. park

There have been nearly 200 pet or livestock and bear encounters so far this year

Most Read