Interior regional district bans pot sales in rural areas

Business owners won’t be able to sell recreational marijuana in the rural areas of the Thompson Nicola Regional District any time soon.

Thompson Nicola Regional District brought in the temporary ban in advance of provincial regulations

The Thompson Nicola Regional District wants to ban the sale of recreational pot in rural areas for the time being. (Matthew Bingley/CBC)

Business owners won't be able to sell recreational marijuana in the rural areas of the Thompson Nicola Regional District any time soon.

At last week's meeting, the board passed a resolution amending the zoning bylaw.

"The staff felt that the most appropriate approach at this point as far as rural area sales go is to ban it all together," said board chair John Ranta.

The change affects all rural areas including unincorporated communities like Blue River and 70 Mile House. The Thompson Nicola Regional District runs from Coquihalla Summit Park south of Merritt to almost 300 kilometres north of Kamloops in an area straddling Highway 5. The incorporated towns and cities in the region set their own zoning rules.

Ban to be revisited 

Ranta says they made the move because the province hasn't clarified its position and the TNRD wanted to prevent the possibility of businesses being grandfathered in under future recreational marijuana legislation.

"We wanted to make sure that the retail sale is able to be regulated by the regional district," said Ranta.

"We're not opposed to it."

He says the TNRD plans on revisiting the ban.

"We'll accept applications at some point in the future and regulate it appropriately, taking into consideration the potential impact on the public.

The City of Kamloops made changes to its bylaws in December 2017 to ensure dispensaries are operating in locations permitted by the city.

For more stories about the Interior, check out the CBC Kamloops Facebook page.

About the Author

Jenifer Norwell

Digital Associate Producer

Jenifer Norwell has been working with CBC since 2008. She's worked in Prince George, Vancouver, Sudbury and now makes her home in her hometown of Kamloops. She works with CBC Kamloops and with Daybreak Kamloops. jenifer.norwell@cbc.ca