Pubdate: Wed, 09 Nov 2016
Source: Nelson Star (CN BC)
Copyright: 2016 Black Press
Author: Colin McGarrigle
Page: A6


Despite the rhetoric, fear and general sky-is-falling condemnation
from proponents of marijuana dispensaries in Nelson, there is no need
to panic about the bylaw that was approved at city hall this week.

City council voted on a bylaw on Monday night to regulate certain
aspects of dispensaries in the city, but have pledged not to shut down
any current dispensaries.

The reason behind the bylaw is to ensure that these businesses operate
in the same manner as any other business in the community.Nothing more.

By approving this zoning bylaw, city council is moving to ensure that
these businesses operate under the umbrella of good community
planning, and to ensure there is a level playing field for current and
future dispensaries.

There is an obvious growth in this industry, and council is attempting
to get some rules behind where and how these and future shops are governed.

Prior to the bylaw passing, it has been a free for all in regards to
these shops, now popping up routinely.

But there are necessary questions that need to be answered, and
regulated. For example: how many dispensaries should be allowed on
Baker Street? How do pot shops affect adjacent businesses? How do we
ensure these products are not being sold to minors? Are security bars
needed on these shops to dissuade some from breaking in? What about
signage? Heritage buildings and painting?

There seems to be no doubt that the federal government will legalize
recreational marijuana for sale and personal use, and not just medical.

When this happens, I'm sure no one would like to see Baker Street
filled with 50 dispensaries from those looking to cash in on this new
industry. The move by council to have some rules behind zoning is prudent.

The challenge and doubt by those opposed to the new zoning bylaw came
from a lack of communication from city hall, who seemed unsure what
exactly this new bylaw would accomplish.

Reporter Will Johnson and I spent several hours trying to get that
straight answer to what should have been a simple question. Even
councillor Bob Adams was unsure at the council meeting about what the
implications of the bylaw would be.

The city does not intend to regulate the product. The city is not
shutting down dispensaries.

The city is doing what it should be doing: ensuring there is a level
playing field, ensuring there is some regulations to the business
aspect of these shops, and ensuring these businesses operate under
good community planning.

Perhaps those who so worried about this bylaw should just relax,
appreciate that they have a progressive council, and maybe have a smoke?
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