Pubdate: Thu, 09 Feb 2017
Source: Pique Newsmagazine (CN BC)
Copyright: 2017 Pique Publishing Inc.
Author: Lynn Mitges
Page: 32


Council agrees to Temporary Use Permit option

Vllage of Pemberton (VOP) council, at its regular meeting on Tuesday,
Feb. 7, gave third and final reading to its zoning amendment regarding
medical marijuana dispensaries. The bylaw was approved at first and
second readings in January.

The amendment, based on advice from VOP solicitors, defines and
prohibits marijuana operations. The amendment has come up several
times over the past few months as SWED Society applied to the VOP to
permit a medical marijuana dispensary, and was the subject of a packed
public meeting a week earlier in which most attendees voiced approval
to allow such dispensaries.

Medical marijuana dispensaries are currently illegal in Canada,
although some jurisdictions allow them, including Vancouver. Many
jurisdictions are awaiting federal legislation to approve
dispensaries, which the Liberal government has said should come by

Coun. Karen Ross said they don't know what the federal government's
legislation will look like.

"That's the reason we are sitting here," she said. "What is this type
of retail operation going to look like - if we open it up to a
Temporary Use Permit (TUP), it would allow us to try it out, then we
set our own rules for the community."

Numerous people at the public meeting suggested the TUP as the way to
proceed, which would allow the VOP to hone its business-licence bylaw
in the wake of federal approval.

If the VOP were to not amend the bylaw, it would permit medical
dispensaries, and if federal approval is granted, then there would be
no retreating from what was already in place. In effect, operations
could be grandfathered in with no hope of change.

In an amusing analogy, VOP Mike Richman said what seems to be tripping
up some observers is the responsibility of the SWED Society.

"At the public meeting, there was a lot of talk about the SWED
Society, whether they were responsible enough. This isn't about SWED,
this is about zoning," he said. "If we allow zoning for it right now
because this operation does a great job, maybe Coun. (Ted) Craddock
opens up Craddocks's Pot Emporium and maybe he's not so responsible
about it."

VOP Planner Lisa Pedrini said the beauty of a TUP is that it's a means
for allowing a business to open on a temporary basis, and the VOP can
apply conditions.

"You can have distancing requirements," said Pedrini, such as
restrictions that don't permit the operation of the business near
schools, libraries, or parks. "And maybe that gets built into the
regulations once the zoning bylaw review tackles this item."

The SWED Society already has a business licence for the sale of
related products, such as glass and giftware that is in compliance
with the VOP business bylaw.

Coun. Jennie Helmer said approving the bylaw amendment is the prudent
course of action.

"I would support passing the bylaw (amendment), see what the feds do
and then decide as a community where we want this business to go," she

Richman said: "Hopefully, within the next few months, (the federal
government) gives us more details and that gives us a chance to do a
more thorough job."
- ---
MAP posted-by: Matt