Tofino and Ucluelet prepare for cannabis legislation

Tofino’s municipal council has passed a new bylaw to keep public areas smoke-free.

Tofino and Ucluelet are working their way through the haze created by the federal government’s incoming marijuana legislation.

With legalization expected to become official this fall, Tofino will host a public hearing on June 12 at 9 a.m. to hear their community’s thoughts on how the incoming retail cannabis industry should be handled in the community.

Tofino’s municipal council passed a new bylaw last week designed to keep tobacco and cannabis smoke out of public areas.

The bylaw stipulates that anyone wanting to smoke cannabis or tobacco, including those using e-cigarettes or vape pens, must be at least six meters away from any trails, beaches and playgrounds, including the local bike park and skate park, as well as all recreation spaces and outdoor workplaces. The new bylaw also prohibits smoking on sidewalks connected to eating or drinking establishments along with any seating and viewing areas.

The bylaw prohibits smoking on trails, beaches and playgrounds, including the local bike park and skate park and stipulates that all smokers must be at least six meters away from any recreation spaces and outdoor workplaces.

The new bylaw also prohibits smoking on sidewalks connected to eating or drinking establishments along with any seating and viewing areas.

While cannabis legislation has drawn large crowds to district-hosted input sessions and open houses in Tofino this year, it has largely flown under the radar in Ucluelet where a public hearing to discuss a bylaw around potential cannabis stores was held last week with just three people in attendance and no questions or comments presented by the public. The bylaw Ucluelet’s municipal council is considering would require anyone seeking to open a retail marijuana store to first obtain special permission from council.

“Municipalities have discretion over whether to permit any retail cannabis sales within their boundaries, or alternatively to allow any number of such businesses,” Ucluelet’s Manager of Community Planning Bruce Greig wrote in a report to council.

Greig’s report suggests that, if council believes there is support in the community for allowing retail marijuana, two sites should be approved.

“Staff would advise against approving a single site, thereby setting up a monopoly in town, and suggest that for a community of this size more than two are probably not warranted,” he wrote.

His report also outlines that council will not consider any retail cannabis applications until at least 90 days after the federal government has officially legalized marijuana and that any retail outlets must be located at least 300 metres away from any schools, playgrounds, daycare facilities, the Ucluelet Community Centre, the Ucluelet Aquarium and at least 150 metres away from Tugwell Fields.

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