Discussion on backyard chickens turns to marijuana at Qualicum Beach town council

Included with a Housekeeping Amendments bylaw were two changes to the sale, zoning of cannabis

What started out as a simple vote to move Qualicum Beach’s backyard chickens pilot project turned into a discussion about the sale of marijuana within the town boundaries.

Within the staff recommendations for the pilot project were a series of housekeeping amendments.

The housekeeping amendments included changes such as changing the definition of “light industry” to include computer, electronic and data processing establishments, since the current definition is outdated, and the regulation of the maximum of four garage sales per year.But it was

Two of the eight amendments that caught Coun. Bill Luchtmeijer’s eye:

The definition of “retail” would be amended so that marijuana retail sales are not permitted by default, which would make it similar to liquor stores and require cannabis-related businesses to apply for a temporary-use permit.

Luchtmeijer said he obviously missed it the first time since the housekeeping amendments had come to the Feb. 27 council meeting.

“What brought this issue to the floor? There has been no discussion amongst council about these aspects,” Luchtmeijer said.

Planning director Luke Sales said it’s a preemptive change to the zoning bylaw should marijuana or cannabis products be legalized, the the town would be prepared to control the use of the locations.

“Right now our definition of retail isn’t specific with the exception of liquor stores. For liquor stores, you need a specific zoning which requires the approval of council to open up a liquor store,” Sales said.

Sales also said if the two amendments were an issue, they could be removed.

Coun. Neil Horner said “cannabis requires a fulsome debate and not to be hidden at the bottom of a housekeeping measure.” Horner made a motion to remove the two amendments.

Mayor Teunis Westbroek said instead council could vote on the Backyard Chickens Pilot Project — which was approved and given second reading — but move the housekeeping amendments to the next council meeting after consulting with staff.

The housekeeping amendment was referred to the April 10 council meeting.

See full story at www.pqbnews.com.