Cannabis Policy Information

Click here to review an infographic about the City’s cannabis policy, which also provides a brief summary of federal and provincial legislation.

Update - March 19, 2019: 

On March 13, 2019, City Council adopted amendments to the planning procedures and business licensing bylaws related to cannabis retail store applications, and staff are now accepting pre-application meetings related to applications for a cannabis retail store (requiring, at minimum, a Temporary Use Permit, and a Cannabis Licence Referral application in the case of private cannabis). Further information on these amendments, including the evaluation criteria used to assess applications, is available in a related corporate report of the February 25, 2019 Governance and Legislation Committee agenda, beginning on page 256.

Sale of Recreational Cannabis

The City of White Rock’s zoning bylaw does not permit the sale of cannabis in any zone, but does provide a framework for consideration of a single recreational cannabis store in the Town Centre area, under a Council-issued Temporary Use Permit.

In addition to being restricted to the Town Centre (bounded by North Bluff Road, George Street, Thrift Avenue, and Martin Street), the location criteria for a Temporary Use Permit for a cannabis store include being 100 metres from the entrance to a child care centre, 30 metres from public parks in the Town Centre (Bryant Park, Hodgson Park, and the Town Square located at 1510 Johnston Road).

Following the legalization of recreational cannabis on October 17, 2018, the provincial Liquor Distribution Branch (external link) will provide online sales of non-medical cannabis through an e-Commerce platform run by Shopify Inc. Access to cannabis for medical purposes will continue to be regulated by Health Canada through the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes program (external link).

Smoking of Recreational Cannabis

The City’s Public Health Smoking Protection Bylaw was updated on July 24, 2018 to specifically list cannabis as a substance regulated by the bylaw, and to add the use of e-cigarettes (or ‘vaping’) as a form of smoking. This clarifies that for any location where smoking has been banned previously, this ban extends to the smoking of cannabis, as well as the use of an e-cigarette to consume tobacco, cannabis, or any other weed or substance. For a full list of locations where smoking within the City of White Rock is prohibited, the Public Health Smoking Protection Bylaw is available on the City’s website. The regulations in the City’s bylaw are in addition to the restrictions on consumption in public that are defined in the provincial Cannabis Control and Licensing Act (Part 5, Division 3; external link).

Home Cultivation of Recreational Cannabis

The provincial Cannabis Control and Licensing Act will permit indoor or outdoor cultivation of up to four plants per household. Plants must not be visible from public spaces off the property, and cultivation is prohibited in homes used as daycares. Community members are reminded that growing recreational cannabis at home before federal legalization or contrary to federal, provincial, landlord or strata rules risks serious consequences, including criminal prosecution, fines and eviction. Further information on the Cannabis Control and Licensing Act is available on the Province’s website (link is external).

Strata Corporations and Strata Property Owners

With the help of their own legal counsel, strata corporations can enact their own bylaws prohibiting or restricting recreational cannabis cultivation or smoking in strata lots or on common property. Strata corporations also have the power to impose fines and other penalties on strata lot owners, who do not comply with strata bylaws. 

Owners of strata property are required to comply with any strata bylaws related to home cultivation, and property owners who rent homes are subject to the rights and rules of the Residential Tenancy Act noted above. Generally speaking, property owners can prohibit home cultivation on their property. Homeowners intending to grow cannabis on their property should consult provincial and federal legislation and any applicable strata bylaws.

Landlords – Cultivation and Consumption

Landlords in BC can prohibit home cultivation. Landlords can also allow home cultivation or allow it under certain restrictions (e.g. by allowing only outdoor cultivation of one plant). An amendment to the Residential Tenancy Act automatically prohibits home recreational cannabis cultivation in tenancies entered into before the Cannabis Control and Licensing Act came into force. Landlords should contact the Residential Tenancy Branch (link is external) for more information on their rights related to home cannabis cultivation.

A new section (21.1; link is external) of the Residential Tenancy Act, which comes into force after cannabis legalization, specifies that all tenancy agreements which already include a clause that prohibits or limits the use of tobacco are considered to prohibit the use cannabis in the same manner. Tenancy agreements that are silent on the topic of smoking or have a clause that specifically allows smoking will be considered to allow the smoking of cannabis. Any tenancy agreement entered into after section 21.1 comes into force will be considered to allow smoking and growing cannabis unless there is a clause that specifically prohibits these actions.

Other Provincial Laws and Regulations

Other provincial laws and regulation that indirectly apply to cannabis consumption and home cultivation will remain in effect and unaltered by the legalization of cannabis. These include child protection laws, provincial health and safety codes. The Motor Vehicle Act has been amended to give policy more tools to remove drug-impaired drivers from the road and deter drug-affected driving.

The City will continue to enforce safety codes that fall within its mandate (e.g. the BC Building Code) and will continue to advise other regulatory authorities if it observes contraventions of other health and safety codes (e.g. notifying the BC Safety Authority of suspect electrical installations