Pubdate: Sat, 19 Dec 2015
Source: Alberni Valley News (CN BC)
Copyright: 2015 Alberni Valley News
Author: Katya Slepian


Further regulations will be imposed on marijuana dispensaries in Port 
Alberni, following recommendations from the chamber of commerce.

In a letter dated Dec. 3, the chamber agreed with the proposed city 
regulations but asked for a few of their own: requiring all 
not-for-profit dispensaries to still have a business licence; not 
allowing them at Harbour Quay or Victoria Quay because they are high 
tourist areas; increased enforcement of business licence bylaws in 
general and that smoking regulations from the BC Tobacco laws would 
also apply to dispensaries.

But not everyone agrees that regulations are the way to go.

Resident Neil Anderson was up in front of council not once but twice 
during Monday's meeting to scold council for what he called 
"condoning illegal activity."

"What are the guidelines as to what laws we enforce and which laws we 
ignore?" Anderson challenged city council.

"The motion passed by council is in my opinion no more than an effort 
to avoid addressing a difficult and controversial issue."

Previously proposed zoning bylaw amendments include limiting 
dispensaries to commercial zones only, keeping them 300 metres away 
from schools, 1000 metres away from other dispensaries, not allowing 
ATMs at dispensaries and not allowing dual usage for dispensaries.

The regulations, proposed by city planner Scott Smith, mirror those 
in Vancouver.

However, Anderson thinks that Port Alberni shouldn't be so hasty in 
following Vancouver's example.

"At last count, Vancouver had over 100 dispensaries, 200 
applications-more marijuana dispensaries than Starbucks stores, two 
times the number of Tim Hortons," he said.

Following the meeting, Coun. Ron Paulson challenged Anderson's 
assertion than regulating dispensaries meant that the city was condoning them.

"The stuff is illegal-on that aspect, Mr. Anderson and I are 
absolutely on the same side," he said.

"This puts us in a really tight spot."

But Paulson still believes that doing something is better than nothing.

Medical marijuana is presently regulated at the federal level. 
However, municipalities such as Vancouver have imposed their own 
regulatory bylaws.

"Council understands perfectly that this is illegal. But if we're 
sitting back, doing nothing and waiting for the RCMP then it's the 
Wild West out there-it's open game, open season," he said.

"But we, from our side, can try to get some control over this before 
there's 10 here."
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom