Recreational Cannabis Retail

A cannabis store is a business that displays, sells, or offers for sale cannabis. Cannabis consumption in the store is not permitted. Cannabis Stores allow for the ancillary retail sale or rental of cannabis-related merchandise.

A cannabis store must be a stand-alone use, which means it cannot be combined with another use, such as a convenience store. However, cannabis stores can occur in a multi-tenant building or as part of a mixed-use development.

All cannabis stores require both provincial licence and City of Nelson business licence to operate. A City of Nelson business licence can only be issued once all required municipal approvals and fees have been obtained.

Anyone interested in applying to open a cannabis retail store in Nelson will need to first apply to the Province. More information and a link to the application portal can be found here

The Province will forward eligible applications to the City of Nelson. If an application is forwarded to the City, the applicant will be required to pay a $3,000 development permit application fee.

In order to be eligible to apply (in addition to meeting all relevant provincial legislation), applications must comply with the City of Nelson's Zoning Bylaw. Not all commercially-zoned lots are eligible for a cannabis retail licence. There is a cap on the number of cannabis retail stores permitted in each of the four retail zones. Click here to view the map to see if a lot is eligible for a cannabis retail store and under which zone.

City Council will make a recommendation to the Province on whether to approve or deny a cannabis retail licence application. The Province will not issue a licence without a favourable municipal recommendation. City Council will arrive at its recommendation in accordance with Schedule 9 of the Land Development Applications Procedures Bylaw.

If given a Provincial and City of Nelson cannabis retail licence, an applicant may need to obtain a building permit. The following are some examples of when a building permit might be required:

  • The space has a new use (e.g. a restaurant changes to a retail store).
  • Any construction is being done, including structural or partition wall changes, mechanical, plumbing, gas or electrical work, including for any structural changes required to comply with provincial cannabis licence rules.
  • The mechanical equipment needs to be upgraded to meet building code, due to a change in use (e.g. car detailing to engine repair affects ventilation rates; using a forklift in a warehouse may require additional ventilation).
  • You are the first tenant in a space.
  • There is a change in kitchen or mechanical ventilation equipment or new equipment being installed.
  • There is a change to the occupant load.

It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that any construction work required to adhere to provincial cannabis licencing regulations has the appropriate building permit.