Cannabis Production, Sales and Use

New federal legislation legalizing the production, sale and use of cannabis came into effect on October 17, 2018. The City of Nanaimo's Council, at its meeting on October 1, 2018, amended the Zoning Bylaw to regulate the sale, production, processing and distribution of cannabis within the city. The Zoning Bylaw amendments will permit cannabis retail stores as a site specific use (requires rezoning). Cannabis production and processing will be permitted in the Industrial zone (14) and micro cannabis production will be allowed in the Light Industrial and Highway Industrial zones (I1 and I2).

Cannabis retail store rezoning applications are being accepted; however, please be aware that before an application can be accepted, a pre-application meeting with staff is required. A pre-application meeting can be scheduled anytime by contacting the Current Planning Section at 250-755-4429.

Cannabis Retail in Nanaimo

The first step in establishing a non-medical cannabis retail store in the City of Nanaimo is to make application with the Government of BC's Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch. 

*It is important to note that the City will not accept an application for a cannabis retail store without first receiving confirmation from LCRB that an application has been received.

City of Nanaimo Requirements


The second step in the process is to contact the Current Planning Section to arrange for a pre-application meeting.  The meeting is intended to provide you with information regarding the rezoning process and to ensure that your rezoning application submission package is complete. Incomplete application packages will not be accepted. As such, it is important that any issues that are identified with regard to your application, rezoning criteria or chosen location is addressed before an application package is submitted. 

Step three is to submit a rezoning application.  If the rezoning application is complete, it will be accepted and the two application processes (LCRB's Cannabis Retail Store licence and the City of Nanaimo rezoning) will run concurrently. Please be aware, however, that if at any point during the rezoning application process LCRB advises that it has discontinued its review of your application, the City will terminate the rezoning process.

Development Permit

If you are building a new store premises or considering an existing location that requires a substantial façade upgrade, you will require a development permit. Please discuss this option with staff at your scheduled pre-application meeting.

Building Permit

Your business location is important.  Before you purchase or sign a lease, check with the Community Development Department first to make sure that you will be able to conduct business in the location you have chosen. British Columbia Building Code requirements can differ depending on the intended use of the building or commercial rental unit. A change of use from that which was originally approved will often require modifications through the issuance of a building permit.

Alternatively, if you are constructing a new premises or know that interior/exterior modifications are required, please be aware that a building permit will be required.  A building permit will only be issued after the required rezoning and development permit has been completed.

Sign Permit

If you are considering installing a sign at your new location, please be aware that it must be done under permit and to the standard outlined in the Sign Bylaw.

In addition to the City of Nanaimo requirements, please ensure that signage complies with all federal and provincial requirements.  LCRB approval of your proposed sign is required before an application can be submitted to the City.

Business Licence

In addition to the licence issued by LCRB, a City of Nanaimo business licence is also required.  A business licence will not be issued until the rezoning and building permit, if required, is complete; however, an application can be submitted at any time during the process.  In doing so, all the necessary referrals to other City departments and external agencies can be done so that when rezoning and/or building permit is complete, your business licence can be issued.

Additional Information and Forms

Cannabis Task Force

Council, at its meeting on December 18, 2017 motioned to establish a Cannabis Task Force on cannabis legalization and regulation. The following reports outline the committee's recommendations:

RPT_C180709-Cannabis Task Force Recommendations

RPT_C180813-Cannabis Zoning Regulation (proposed text amendments to the Zoning Bylaw)

Government of BC News and Updates

Get the facts at:

As of October 17, 2018, non-medical cannabis can be legally purchased online from:

Find out the status of in-stream provincial non-medical cannabis licence applications at:


If you have any questions, or require additional information with regard to any aspect of the cannabis retail store rezoning/licensing requirements, please feel free to email staff at

Last updated: March 4, 2024

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