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White Rock defers decision on medical-marijuana ban

Former city councillor Margaret Woods expresses her views on medical marijuana production – as Joy Davies and Jeff Ballingal listen – during a December public information meeting. - File
Former city councillor Margaret Woods expresses her views on medical marijuana production – as Joy Davies and Jeff Ballingal listen – during a December public information meeting.
— image credit: File

A vote on bylaw amendments that would prohibit medical-marijuana operations in White Rock has been deferred.

At the suggestion of Coun. Al Campbell, council voted unanimously Monday (with Coun. Larry Robinson absent) to hold off on making a decision.

"Do we need some more information?" Campbell asked, referring to details heard in a public hearing earlier that evening.

City staff this month recommended council implement a ban on grow-ops, following legal advice aimed at helping B.C. municipalities prepare for new federal rules around the operations.

The ban suggestion, along with other "housekeeping" amendments to Bylaw 2000, received first and second reading Feb. 4.

At Monday's public hearing, only one person spoke specifically to the ban.

Joy Davies – a member of Canadian Medical Cannabis Partners, a group advocating for a provincial medicinal-marijuana program – pointed to a 2012 report that concludes such bylaws could lead to costly constitutional challenges.

In reiterating her January appeal for the city to do nothing, Davies said those who will be hurt by a bylaw are patients who benefit from access to medical cannabis.

Davies said in 2010, only 70 of 30,000 licensed medical-marijuana growers in Canada were found to be growing outside of their licence. Forty of those 70 were involved in organized crime, she said.

"We patients are not criminal element, but we are being thrown under the bus because of 70.

"I don't want to see us to be part of the problem."

Council next meets on March 10.

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