Pubdate: Tue, 14 Feb 2017
Source: Daily Courier, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2017 The Okanagan Valley Group of Newspapers
Author: Ron Seymour
Page: A1


West Kelowna council set to consider bylaw that would restrict where
medicinal marijuana can be grown, sold

It's high time to force the closure of pot shops in downtown Westbank,
city and police officials say. A new bylaw intended to curb the
proliferation of stores selling so-called medicinal marijuana will be
considered today by West Kelowna council.

The proposed regulations set strict limits on where and how
marijuana-growing businesses could operate in the future with the
expected legalization of the drug.

But as they currently exist, police say unequivocally, the Main Street
pot stores are flouting the law.

"There is no such thing as having tolerance for marijuana
dispensaries," says West Kelowna RCMP Staff Sgt. Lesli Roseberry.
"Simply put, these dispensaries are illegal."

It is illegal to sell marijuana to the public, Roseberry says, whether
or not the buyer has a licence to use the drug.

"Owners or employees of a medical marijuana dispensary may be charged
with trafficking in a controlled substance should evidence exist to
support a charge," Roseberry says. "Business operators who choose to
conduct their operations outside of these laws may be

West Kelowna council has long expressed concern about the
proliferation of pot shops in downtown Westbank.

Evolving federal laws and regulations concerning the production and
distribution of marijuana were described by West Kelowna Mayor Doug
Findlater as a "really big, bloody mess" at a council meeting in
February 2014.

Canadian cities have tried various strategies to address the
proliferation of pot shops.

There have been police raids on such businesses in Toronto and Ottawa,
and Vancouver has introduced new zoning laws, licensing charges and
fines to try to discourage the spread of pot shops. Vancouver
officials expect to soon defend their regulatory system in the courts.

Key parts of the proposed West Kelowna bylaw, expected to receive
first reading today before being forwarded to a public hearing, include:

- - Restricting all businesses involved in the legal production of
marijuana, including those that sell the drug, to properties with an
industrial zoning. An exception would be a licensed pharmacy.

- - Prohibiting greenhouses or plant nurseries from growing

- - Requiring businesses with a licence to grow marijuana to have
comprehensive air-filtration and security systems.

- - Requiring businesses that produce or store marijuana to be located
at least 150 metres away from any property with a residential or park
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