Pubdate: Mon, 20 Jun 2016
Source: Vancouver Sun (CN BC)
Copyright: 2016 Postmedia Network Inc.
Author: Dan Fumano
Page: A8


Twelve months after Vancouver city council adopted rules on pot
dispensaries, a majority of city residents believe medical marijuana
is as safe or safer than alcohol, but most are also concerned about
pot use in public, a new poll reports.

The poll was conducted this month by Nanos Research, via a random
phone survey of 400 adult residents of Vancouver, and was commissioned
by cannabis advocacy group Sensible B.C. About nine per cent of
respondents reported using medical marijuana, while just over half
said they didn't know anyone who uses it. Only 14 per cent supported a
complete ban on dispensaries.

Nanos found most respondents support dispensaries selling edibles and
providing safe places for users to smoke or vaporize, both of which
are prohibited under Vancouver's current bylaws.

Sensible B.C. director Dana Lars en said the results show many
Vancouver it es are dissatisfied with city hall' s approach to
regulating pot shops. "Certainly, this poll shows that people do not
want dispensaries treated so much more strictly than liquor stores,"
said Larsen, who operates two dispensaries in Vancouver.

Currently, one Vancouver pot dispensary has a city-issued business
licence, four more are in the final stages of obtaining their licences
and another 16 are in the early stages, Vancouver Coun. Kerry Jang,
the self-described "main architect" of the city's dispensary bylaws,
said Sunday. Enforcement action will continue, he said, for the 50 or
so other dispensaries illegally operating without licences.

"The fact is, when you're trying to shut down 90 per cent of the
places in the city, and trying to limit access to only a couple of
dozen spots ... that's not legalization or tolerance, that's
prohibition under a different name," said Larsen. "We want bylaws, but
we want fair bylaws."

But Jang said most citizens appreciate that the new framework "has
struck a good balance."

"The only one complaining about it is Dana Larsen," Jang said.
"They're the ones who are making it a political issue ... but really
it comes down to the fact they got used to making money, unregulated,
and now we have regulation in place. It's all about money now. They're
trying to dress it up as cannabis culture, but really it's cannabis
commerce. They're hiding behind that cloak of activism in order to
make money."

But Larsen disputed that he was primarily motivated by his own
financial interests, and said "thousands and thousands" of
Vancouverites are upset that the city's regulations are "too
restrictive," adding that "if (Jang's) not hearing that, he's not
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