Marijuana shops high on municipal agenda

Even small towns struggle with unregulated pot shops as Justin Trudeau government holds hearings on legalization

Storefront marijuana operations continue to open in B.C. communities

B.C. communities struggling to deal with unregulated marijuana sales are looking for help, or a piece of the action as growers and sellers compete for a share of the expanding legal market.

Pot problems are high on the agenda for the annual Union of B.C. Municipalities convention in September, as local governments continue to deal with fire hazards and retail outlets selling untested marijuana products in defiance of federal and local laws.

Nelson and Duncan councils are calling on the provincial and federal governments to share tax revenue with local governments, when the Justin Trudeau government puts its plan to legalize recreational marijuana sales next year.

Nelson also wants a say in the legalization process, as a federal-provincial task force tours the country to hear from public health, police and substance abuse experts.

For now, B.C. is the Wild West of pot production. Communities that try to regulate quasi-medical dispensaries find their tickets and orders ignored as shops proliferate in a legal vacuum.

Langley fire officials determined this week that a recent house fire was caused by an explosion in a marijuana “extraction lab” using butane as a solvent. The process is used to make “honey oil” and “shatter,” a crystal concentrate that is one of the most potent marijuana preparations. Oils and concentrates are sold in some dispensaries and used in baked goods.

Nelson recently saw its eighth pot store open without a business licence, as it considers regulations adopted in Kimberly and Vancouver. Sooke has three dispensaries, as the issue moves to smaller communities.

In the Okanagan, communities are taking a harder line. Penticton has cancelled the business licences of medical marijuana shops, despite their arguments that they are “compassion clubs” supplying people with legally recognized medical uses.

Vernon council voted down a proposal to develop its own bylaw regulating dispensaries, as Victoria and other communities are doing. A staff report advised councillors that business licences have not been issued because storefront sales remain illegal in Canada.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Pubs accused of ‘negligently’ serving alcohol before Surrey traffic crash

The case concerns an Aug. 2, 2015 single-vehicle crash

Surrey mayor says Newton needs more recreation facilities

Surrey council has approved the “Stage 2 Final Report” of the Newton Town Centre Plan

Parallel crises: How COVID-19 has exacerbated the drug overdose emergency

Part 1: Surrey, White Rock officials say isolation, CERB, contributing to crisis

Surrey city staff hears restricting recovery homes to six clients won’t cut it

Corporate report notes there are more recovery homes in Surrey than in every other community in B.C. combined

Gravestones repaired at Surrey Centre Cemetery

Restoration now complete on seven pioneer grave markers vandalized in April

Police issue warning after baby comes across suspected drugs in Kamloops park

The 11-month-old girl’s mother posted photos on social media showing a small plastic bag containing a purple substance

Collision results in train derailment just east of Golden

The derailment occurred Sunday night, according to a statement from CP

Missing Fraser Valley man’s car found in Harrison

Michael Denham has been missing since June 27

Lower Mainland woman says llama farming neighbour shot her 11-month-old pup

Young dog was on owner’s Maple Ridge property when it was killed on June 21

B.C. records 31 new cases, six deaths over three days due to COVID-19

There are 166 active cases in B.C., 16 people in hospital

B.C. highway widening job reduced, costs still up $61 million

Union-only project scales back work to widen Trans-Canada

Most Read