Whistler council has endorsed a Retail Cannabis Policy, taking the next step toward enabling retail cannabis in the community.
Under the new policy, five locations have been identified as areas where this form of retail can be established—including Creekside, Function Junction, Nesters Plaza, the Village and Village North—providing access to the industry, but also limits on its growth.
“We have spent a lot of time looking into whether cannabis retail can be a part of fulfilling our Official Community Plan policy that asks the RMOW to explore opportunities to incorporate Squamish Nation and Líl̓wat Nation-owned and operated businesses into the local business economy,” said Mayor Jack Crompton. “This kind of commitment to the economic component of reconciliation goes well beyond employment for Nation members, though that is good too.
“My hope and expectation is that anyone serious about applying to retail cannabis in Whistler, will look to the Líl̓wat or Squamish as business partners.”
Several bylaws will need to be amended including Zoning and Parking Bylaw, and the minimum buffering distances between cannabis retail stores and schools.
Once those bylaw amendments have been adopted, an intake period will be set for complete applications, and applications reviewed to determine how well they meet the objectives of the policy and advanced to Council.
On December 7, 2021, Council had directed staff to proceed with developing an approach to regulating cannabis retail in Whistler, including a policy framework based on OCP goals, objectives, and policies, a Temporary Use Permit (TUP) framework, bylaw amendments, and a stakeholder and community engagement strategy.