CLARIFICATION: We have amended the headline to read ‘PRRD hosting public hearing in Fort St. John tomorrow on amended bylaw prohibiting cannabis sales’ from ‘PRRD hosting public hearing on amended bylaw prohibiting cannabis sales in Fort St. John tomorrow,’ since the meeting is taking place IN Fort St. John but DOES NOT affect properties INSIDE city limits. The proposed bylaw only impacts properties that are located in the Electoral Areas of the Peace River Regional District (i.e. Charlie Lake, Baldonnel, Wonowon, Farmington, etc.)

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The Peace River Regional District is hosting a public hearing on Thursday regarding its proposed bylaw that would prohibit the sale of recreational cannabis, though the bylaw has been amended to omit the proposed prohibition on selling pipes, bongs, vaporizers, and other items that could be used to consume cannabis.

The proposed bylaw passed a second reading at the Regional Board meeting on July 26th.

Since then, the Regional District has received feedback from a number of government agencies on the proposed bylaw.

The Village of Pouce Coupe’s Corporate Officer Sandy Stokes said that the Village does not approve of the bylaw being implemented in the Pouce Coupe area, and that the Village’s mayor and council would like to talk more about the bylaw.

The Fort St. John City Council passed a motion at the end of August, recommending that the Regional District select a specific zone for cannabis retail such as Highway Commercial and that the PRRD consult with relevant agencies regarding buffer zones, similar to the process the City engaged in over summer when it implemented its Cannabis Retail bylaw.

In its feedback, Northern Health recommended removing the term ‘Cannabis Accessory’ from the definitions of Cannabis-Related Business, saying that access to such accessories should be protected for both medical and non-medical cannabis users.

“Access to lower-risk cannabis consumption paraphernalia can reduce the harms associated with cannabis consumption, e.g. using a water filtered pipe vs. using a rolling paper or unfiltered metal pipe,” said the health authority’s rationale for the recommendation.

Staff said that after taking into account the feedback from Northern Health, they are now recommending that the proposed bylaw be amended to remove the term ‘cannabis accessory’ from all sections.

Staff are also recommending that the Regional Board provides clarification regarding the types of zones which could potentially be amended to allow a Cannabis-Related Business after taking the feedback from the City of Fort St. John into account.

The public hearing is taking place at the Northern Grand Hotel in Grand Room 1 at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, September 27th.