When Happy Isle Cannabis Company opened in 2019, it did so under a temporary use permit. Bowen Island Municipality's council had prohibited cannabis retail across the island ahead of the substance’s legalization in 2018.
The success of Bowen’s pot shop – and apparent lack of trouble or controversy – prompted a BIM committee to suggest lifting the island-wide retail prohibition when Happy Isle came forward for a rezoning.
At its regular council meeting Oct. 12, council unanimously lifted the prohibition. Cannabis retail is now an allowed use wherever retail is a primary land use in the municipality.
This does not, however, mean that anyone may open a pot shop anywhere. There are strict provincial regulations for cannabis stores and all such store applications are referred to local governments. Local government approval is necessary. So along with approving the rezoning, council adopted a cannabis referral policy to guide council’s future decision making. Referral considerations include location, community input – from property owners and land occupiers within a minimum of 100 metres of the proposed store as well as local RCMP – and consumer demand.