A board shows different products for sale at a medical marijuana dispensary in Vancouver

Public debate over Vancouver pot shops begins

Public airs views at hearing over medical marijuana dispensaries in Vancouver

By The Canadian Press

VANCOUVER – A public hearing on Vancouver’s proposal to regulate pot shops is heating up with more than 150 people set to speak.

Pot-legalization advocates, dispensary owners and patients crammed city hall on Wednesday evening as the hearing began.

City manager Penny Ballem says the number of authorized medical marijuana users in British Columbia accounts for nearly half of all those in Canada.

The city is proposing new regulations to control the rapid growth of illegal pot shops, which have multiplied from fewer than 20 to 94 over the past three years.

The regulations would include a new business licence category, a $30,000 fee and a requirement that stores be 300 metres away from schools, community centres and other pot shops.

Ballem says the city hopes to reduce youth exposure and serious crime and is now considering allowing up to five licences per owner rather than just one.

“We have tried to achieve a really balanced approach here to allow people who need to access marijuana for medical issues to be actually able to do that but to protect the public,” she says.

“Some people think we’re too strict and some people’s input is that we’re too lenient.”

Selling marijuana over the counter is illegal in Canada — regardless of whether it’s medical or recreational — and the federal government has strongly warned against the plan.

The city has said that the federal government’s strict medical marijuana laws have fostered the rise of dispensaries in Vancouver.

Dispensary owners are split on the proposed regulations, with some complaining the hefty fee and location requirements will put them out of business, while others support the rules as a step toward legalization.

The hearing is expected to stretch over several days

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

Comments are closed

Just Posted

South Surrey’s Historic Stewart Farm to offer guided tours

Outdoor tours to run afternoons Tuesdays through Fridays

Surrey Food Bank opens huge new ‘forever home’ in Newton

New warehouse on 78th Avenue is close to three times the size of the food bank’s old site in Whalley

Semiahmoo Peninsula girls to host Black Lives Matter fundraiser

‘We are doing this because the world is full of systemic racism,’ organizer Sabine Lapointe said

Community fruit harvest program returns to Surrey, White Rock

Sources will send a team to harvest fruit trees, so less goes to waste

East White Rock crosswalk, speed bumps proposed

Report on costs and implications requested by council

Following incident at sea, fishing lodge says it will reopen despite Haida travel ban

QCL reopens July 10, says president; Haida chief councillor describes ‘dangerous’ boating encounter

Kamloops RCMP officer’s conduct under review after blackface jokes on social media

Meinke’s Instagram is private and it’s unclear when the posts were made

NHL says 35 players have tested positive for COVID-19 since June 8

Positive rate for the league is just under 6%

Man charged in Rideau Hall crash had rifle, shotguns, high-capacity magazine: RCMP

Hurren is accused of threatening to cause death or bodily harm to the prime minister

B.C. extends income assistance exemption for COVID-19

Provincial program to match Ottawa’s CERB, student pay

Most Read

l -->