The City of Niagara Falls has chosen to allow retail sales of recreational cannabis within commercial zones.
The purpose of this document is to help prospective recreational cannabis retailers when considering the location of an Alcohol Gaming Commission of Ontario (ACGO) cannabis retail store in Niagara Falls.
It is recognized the AGCO is the provincial authority responsible for licensing cannabis retail operators, authorizing cannabis retail locations and licensing senior store staff. Municipal governments have no licensing authority. The AGCO regulates and reviews all aspects of the retail operation. For the purposes of this document, a cannabis retail store shall mean a store licensed or under application to be licensed by the AGCO.
Land Use Planning
The provincial licensing process does not remove the requirement to comply with the zoning by-law and other municipal planning documents. The definitions within the municipality’s Official Plan and Zoning By-law are applicable to all retail, including cannabis retail stores. Retail sale of cannabis from a provincially licensed store is legal and is a permitted use in the retail zones. Please check with Senior Zoning Administrator, City Hall Planning, 905-356-7521 Ext. 4296 to determine zoning requirements.
Municipal Building Inspections
The Ontario Building Code applies to cannabis retail store locations. Therefore, where a building or sign permit is required, applications together with appropriate fees shall be submitted to the Niagara Falls Building Division. Prior to undertaking any work, please contact the Permit Application Technician, City Building Department. The building inspector will undertake duties as usual. Fire Code compliance is mandatory.
Cannabis Retail Stores and Sensitive Activities
The goal is to help ensure public health and safety, protect of youth and reduce illegal sales, retail cannabis stores are discouraged where nearby properties are designed to serve youth, or the potential for illegal sales or health risk exist. It is recommended that a 150m distance be maintained from:
- Schools as outlined in O. Reg 468.18; (mandatory)
- Facilities such as nursery schools, day care centres and municipal libraries, parks, trailheads and recreational facilities including community centres and arenas; and
- Facilities that serve persons with mental health or addiction challenges.
City of Niagara Falls Comment Preparation & Submission
All applications for licencing submitted to the AGCO will be reviewed by Planning Staff having regard for:
- Ensuring zoning allows a retail use as a permitted use and whether the zone provisions and regulations of the zone can be satisfied;
- The separation distances listed for uses in Cannabis Retail Stores and Sensitive Activities (i), (ii), and (iii) of this document are met; and
- The goal of Cannabis Retail Stores and Sensitive Activities is met.
Where time limits do not allow a report to be brought before City Council, the Director of Planning, Building & Development is delegated the responsibility to submit comments to the AGCO on behalf of the Corporation.