Cannabis Regulatory Framework

Since cannabis became legal in 2018, and following an extensive period of background research, including a review of the approaches taken by other municipalities, the City of Coquitlam has developed a draft Cannabis Regulatory Framework. The Framework will guide how the City will implement policies, guidelines, and regulations for cannabis production, processing facilities and retail stores in Coquitlam.

The City's Proposed Approach to Regulating Cannabis

The general approach proposed for considering the different types of cannabis-related businesses is as follows:

 For production and processing of cannabis, the framework proposes:

  • Indoor production and processing be permitted in Industrial zones, with indoor processing also permitted in Business Enterprise zones, with no Council approval; and
  • Applications be reviewed through the Building Permit process. 

For retail sales of cannabis products and accessories to the public, the framework proposes:

  • Retail sales be considered by Council on a case-by-case basis in commercial areas through a zoning text amendment process;
  • Rezoning applications be accepted during a specified time period and processed in a batch, to create a level playing field;
  • Applicants apply to the provincial Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch concurrently with their City application;
  • Considering stores in the Burquitlam, Lougheed, Austin Heights, Maillardville and City Centre areas; 
  • A buffer zone from schools and parks;
  • Larger separation distances from places where youth and vulnerable people are located, such as daycares, community spaces, recovery homes, emergency shelters, and community gathering spaces; and 
  • Design criteria to ensure safety and fit with the neighbourhood. 

Next Steps

Following the presentation to Council-in-Committee on Sept. 7, 2021, staff are incorporating the feedback in the development of bylaw amendments and policy updates for Council consideration later this year. Amendments are required to the Zoning Bylaw, Business Licence Bylaw, Bylaw Enforcement Notices Bylaw, and Fees and Charges Bylaw, along with a new Council Policy. The Public Hearing for the bylaw amendments will provide an additional opportunity for public comment.

Public Engagement

Feedback on the City's approach to regulating cannabis-related businesses in Coquitlam was gathered in a survey in early 2021. The feedback obtained is being used to inform the City's Cannabis Regulatory Framework. More information on the engagement process is available on the City's online engagement portal at letstalkcoquitlam.ca/cannabis.

  1. Background
  2. Cannabis Regulation in Canada
  3. Smoking Cannabis
  4. Related Documents
  5. Stay Connected

On October 17, 2018, the federal government’s Cannabis Act came into force, legalizing the sale and consumption of non-medical cannabis, subject to additional provincial and local regulation.  In anticipation of legalization, the City adopted an amendment to the Zoning Bylaw on April 30, 2018. 

These amendments continue to allow medical cannabis grow operations in certain industrial areas under set conditions but prohibit all other cannabis-related land uses, including retail sales, at this time. A copy of the report outlining these interim regulations is available here.

Since cannabis was legalized, Coquitlam has taken a thoughtful approach to regulating cannabis-related businesses. This has included extensive background research and examining leading practices that have emerged in Metro Vancouver, B.C. and Canada as the cannabis retail industry has grown across the country.