(Black Press file photo)

(Black Press file photo)

Surrey to keep illegal pot dispensaries at bay with bylaw wording change

On Monday, city council approved ‘immediate’ changes to keep ‘maximum level of control’ in managing cannabis legalization

SURREY — To ensure no pot dispensaries set up in Surrey ahead of federal legalization this summer, the city is making “immediate” changes to its zoning bylaw.

The changes may be small, but they’re important, said Councillor Mike Starchuk.

During a tour of U.S. cities that have already undergone legalization, Starchuk said it was “very clear” that when talking about recreational pot, the key word in legislation both there and in Canada was “cannabis.”

The thing is, he explained, Surrey’s bylaw currently uses the term “marijuana.”

“From a legal standpoint, (cannabis) is the word that’s there,” he said. “That’s the technical term.”

Starchuk said city hall has inquiries every week about setting up pot shops here.

“I can tell you right now, we don’t have any dispensaries in the City of Surrey…. We don’t want to open up a door,” he said.

At least, not for now.

“It’s not legal, it’s a controlled substance and the federal government has not provided the law that says it is legal yet,” said Starchuk. “But this corporate report and the housekeeping items of changing the term cannabis from marijuana, will line up with the federal.”

City council approved the changes during a meeting Monday (March 12).

A corporate report to council recommended the “immediate” changes to the city’s zoning bylaw to “ensure any dispensaries currently operating are solidified as being illegal prior to any legislation change” which would “provide additional time to determine how Surrey will manage this use once legalized.”

The report, signed by Planning and Development Manager Jean Lamontagne and City Solicitor Craig MacFarlane, notes the changes are a “first step” in Surrey managing the changes coming forward as a result of the changes to federal legislation.

And, to “provide the maximum level of control in managing this use once legalization takes effect.”

“Immediate adjustments involve adding new definitions that are consistent with Federal definitions of cannabis and cannabis-related activities and placing prohibitions on retail sales, dispensaries and production prior to legalization,” the report notes.

The proposed changes would see new definitions added to the city’s zoning bylaw for the terms cannabis, cannabis dispensary and cannabis production facility.

The words marijuana, marijuana dispensary and medical marijuana, meantime, would be removed.

If approved, the horticulture definition would also change to add new references to cannabis.

See also: City of Surrey ponders its pot plan

More bylaw changes are expected once recreational cannabis becomes legal later this year, the report notes, once the city has fully determined how it will be managed in Surrey.

Future amendments could include where operations will be permitted to set up and in what proximity they will be to other amenities, such as schools and parks and rehab centres.

The city will also have to look at cannabis business licensing and related costs, as well as inspections and enforcement issues.

Rules about where people will be allowed to smoke could materialize, as well.

Currently, the City of Surrey treats e-cigarettes, vaporizers and cigarettes the same in its bylaw, which bans smoking within seven-and-a-half metres of bus stops, in addition to the provincial rules that prohibit lighting up within six metres of public or workplace buildings, doorways, windows and air intakes.

See also: Surrey banning e-cigarettes where smoking isn’t allowed



amy.reid@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Amy on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Anti-Racist Coalition Vancouver started a petition calling on B.C.’s education officials to make Black Shirt Day official. The inaugural event in solidarity with Black and racialized Canadians takes place on Friday, Jan. 15. (Screenshot/Change.org)
Surrey students, staff to take part in first-ever Black Shirt Day

Special day in ‘recognition of the struggle for civil rights fought by Black and racialized Canadians’

B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Surrey, Langley twin brothers who own companies together battle in court

Presiding judge described Surrey resident Kerry Hawley and Langley resident Kelly Petersen as ‘self-made successes’

16500-block of 24 Avenue. (Google image)
Council pushes forward applications for 400-plus dwellings in South Surrey

Loss of trees, pressure on schools cited by public, council members as areas of concern

Members of the community participate in the 7th annual Coldest Night of the Year event Feb. 22, 2020. This year’s event will have a virtual aspect to it because of COVID, says organizer Courtenay van den Boogaard. (Photo Submitted: Amanda Grewall)
Coldest Night of the Year fundraiser to support Cloverdale Community Kitchen

Annual events raises funds to help homeless community

Brandon Isaak with two of the "mini-legends" he's made of clay. "But I do not just do musicians or legends," says the Surrey-area musician. "I did a series of hobos and the guy in my one hand is Homesick Joe. In the other hand a commissioned piece of Bob Marley." (submitted photo: Cindy Mae)
Surrey musician’s clay ‘Mini-Legends’ make the most of pandemic’s quiet days and nights

‘It’s actually turned out to be quite a booming little business,’ says Brandon ‘Yukon Slim’ Isaak

A woman wears a face mask and shield to curb the spread of COVID-19 while walking in North Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday, January 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
536 COVID cases, 7 deaths reported as B.C. find its first case of South African variant

Henry said 69,746 people have received their first dose of the COVID vaccine.

Alan Davidson was sentenced to almost six years for abusing seven boys in the late 1970s and early 1990s. (Canadian Press file)
Full parole granted to former Mountie, sports coach convicted of sex abuse of boys

Alan Davidson convicted of abusing boys in B.C. and Saskatchewan in late ’70s, early ’90s

Letisha Reimer died Nov. 1, 2016 after being stabbed at Abbotsford Senior Secondary.
No evidence that killer was in ‘psychotic state’ during Abbotsford school stabbing: Crown

Second day of closing arguments at ‘not criminally responsible’ hearing for Gabriel Klein

The first COVID-19 vaccine arrives in B.C. in temperature-controlled containers, Dec. 13, 2020. (B.C. government)
More vaccine arrives as B.C. struggles with remote COVID-19 cases

Long-term care homes remain focus for public health

The first Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine dose in Canada is prepared at The Michener Institute in Toronto on Monday, Dec. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Doses of COVID-19 vaccine expected in 60 B.C. First Nations by next week

B.C. has allocated 25,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine to First Nations for distribution by the end of February

Kamloops-South Thompson MLA Todd Stone questions the NDP government in the B.C. legislature, Feb. 25, 2020. (Hansard TV)
Todd Stone says he’s not running for B.C. Liberal leadership

Kamloops MLA was widely viewed as a front-runner

Wireless voice and data services are out for those on Telus as of Thursday (Jan. 14) afternoon across Western Canada, Telus Support said in a recent Tweet. (Black Press file photo)
UPDATE: Telus services restored across Western Canada

Telus said they are monitoring the situation to ensure connections remain stable

Screenshot from video.
2 students arrested in assault of transgender girl at Lower Mainland school

Mother says daughter was targeted because of how she identifies

Constable Ken Jaques broke a window and crawled into a home to rescue an elderly man who had be laying on the floor for days. Jaques was the officer who provided oversight for the 2020 Remembrance Day services and is shown here in a picture with his son. Photo Andrea DeMeer
Senior who fell and spent days lying on floor of home saved by Princeton cop

He broke the glass and crawled into the house, while calling for assistance from BC Ambulance

Most Read