Zoning & Business Licence Regulations for Retail Cannabis Stores

Quick Facts

  • The proposed federal Cannabis Act was introduced on April 13, 2017, and is expected to come into force on October 17, 2018.
  • The proposed federal Cannabis Act will create a strict legal framework for controlling the production, distribution, sale and possession of non-medical cannabis across Canada.
  • Edible cannabis products are not permitted at this time as Federal regulation of edible cannabis products is expected to follow within one year of the Cannabis Act coming into force and effect.
  • Under the proposed federal act, provinces and territories will regulate distribution and retail of non-medical cannabis, minimum age, public consumption, personal cultivation, possession limits and drug-affected driving in their respective jurisdictions.

The City will oversee retail locations and rules, land use, and zoning and sought public input on proposed Zoning and Business Bylaw amendments to regulate retail cannabis stores in Chilliwack once the planned federal Cannabis Act comes into force and effect. A C9 (Cannabis Retail) Zone has been approved and adopted by Council and includes development criteria for storefront cannabis retailers, including specific standards to mitigate exposure to children and youth as well as avoid concentration of storefront cannabis retailers in a commercial area. Potential business owners/operators would need to apply to rezone property in conjunction with pursuing a retail license application with the Province. Rezoning applications would be subject to public input and Council consideration.

In addition, Council has adopted changes to update the Business License Bylaw to incorporate cannabis retail use. Following successful rezoning of property to permit cannabis retail use, an owner/operator will need to apply for a business license and provide the following as part of their application:

  • submission of the following:
    • security plan
    • police information checks for the applicant and every on-site manager
    • proof of security alarm contract
    • proof of ownership, or lease agreement
  • implementation of the following security measures:
    • video surveillance
    • security and fire alarm system
    • valuables to be removed from premises or locked in a safe on the premises when business is not in operationno valuables to be stored on site
  • implementation of the following measures to deter criminal activity while the business is open to the public:
    • minimum of two employees on duty, one of whom is a manager
    • windows must not be blocked
  • Installation and maintenance of an air filtration system to ensure odour impacts on neighbouring properties are minimized.

Given the varying levels of administrative, inspection and enforcement tasks associated with business licensing, a license fee of $10,000 is required.

Prior to making application for a Retail Cannabis Use within the City, you are strongly encouraged to contact the Planning & Strategic Initiatives Department to review the following:

  • the current zoning of your property
  • the current Official Community Plan (OCP) designation of your property
  • general Bylaw requirements of the C9 Zone to be applied for
  • type of information that will be required to support an application
  • the suitability of proposed zoning for Retail Cannabis Use

To review Zoning and Business Licence Bylaw requirements, please connect directly with Erin Leary, Senior Planner at leary@chilliwack.com or 604.793.2906.

About Zoning and Business Licences in Chilliwack

Registering your business

Business Licence Brochure (PDF)

Zoning Bylaw 2001, No. 2800

Responsibilities – Federal, Provincial & Municipal

There are a number of topics related to the legalization of cannabis that fall outside of the City’s role in decision making, including:

  • Setting a different legal age than the province – the province has determined the legal age to be 19 years old
  • Rules/regulations related to drug-impaired driving – the City must enforce federal and provincial laws
  • Workplace safety – the City must enforce provincial laws

Here is a break-down of the jurisdictional responsibilities for legalized cannabis:






Possession limits

* *



Advertisement and packaging


Impaired driving

* *

Medical cannabis


Seed-to-sale tracking system


Production (cultivation and processing)


Age limit (federal minimum)

* *

Public health

* *


* * *


* *

Home cultivation
(growing plants at home)

* *

Workplace safety


Distribution and wholesaling


Retail model


Retail location and rules

* *

Regulatory compliance

* * *

Public consumption

* *

Land use/zoning

* *

To learn more:

The draft federal Cannabis Act (Bill C-45) can be found here: http://www.parl.ca/LegisInfo/BillDetails.aspx?billId=8886269

To learn more about the current status of cannabis laws in Canada, and the work being done to legalize and regulate it, visit the Government of Canada’s online resource: www.canada.ca/en/services/policing/justice/legalization-regulation-marijuana.html

To read the Province of British Columbia’s proposed legislation, visit: https://www.leg.bc.ca/parliamentary-business/legislation-debates-proceedings/41st-parliament/3rd-session/bills/progress-of-bills

To learn more about BC’s legislative process, visit: https://www.crownpub.bc.ca/Product/Details/7665005851_S

To find more detail on BC’s non-medical cannabis retail framework, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/employment-business-and-economic-development/business-management/liquor-regulation-licensing/documents/5847_cannabis_privateretailguide_v03.pdf

Description Date File Size 
Cannabis Retail Sales Brochure 2021-09-09 211KB 
Cannabis Production Facility Brochure 2018-10-10 242KB 
Open House Story Boards 2018-07-13 3.96MB 
Retail Cannabis Survey Results 2018-07-18 692KB