Pubdate: Wed, 03 May 2017
Source: Nelson Star (CN BC)
Copyright: 2017 Black Press
Author: Bill Metcalfe
Page: A3


Nelson council voted to award business licenses to five pot
dispensaries on Monday.

All six of the dispensaries currently operating submitted applications
as well as a new business, Medical Mary Jane, which plans to move into
Nelson Commons.

The application by Canna Clinic was turned down, according to city
planner Pam Mierau, because the owners submitted their application on
April 19, well past the March 31 deadline, and even then the business
was lacking in some of the requirements under Nelson's bylaw - for
instance, they had no security plan, unmet signage requirements, and
no proper filtration system.

The other unsuccessful applicant was the Nelson Cannabis Compassion
Club, which has been operating in Nelson for 18 years.

"They did not comply with signage requirements, there no security plan
and fire alarm, and they only have one employee," Cormack said.

Nelson's bylaw, passed on March 6, contains specific requirements
including a $5000 business licence (which none of the dispensaries has
paid yet), a maximum of six dispensaries in the city, rules regarding
signage, a security system including alarms and video surveillance, a
minimum of two employees on site at all times, an air filtration
system, and no windows blocked by translucent material.

Three of the applicants - Green Room Society, Nelson Potorium, and
Medical Mary Jane - met all the requirements. Two others - Kootenays
Medicine Tree and Leaf Cross Health Society - were non-compliant in
some minor ways which the owners have agreed to fix in the near future
as a condition of licensing.

Nelson's bylaw enforcement officers, building inspector, and fire
department each visited each premised to make these

The city accepted the application by Medical Mary Jane provisionally,
based on a plan the business presented to council, even though it has
not moved into its premises.

This means there is one licence still available, and two applicants
for it - the Compassion Club and Canna Clinic.

But councillor Robin Cherbo told the media later that council could
approve a seventh if one of them applied to vary the bylaw.

Mierau told council that she would be meeting with the owners of Canna
Clinic and the Compassion Club to talk about whether they want to
apply for a variance or come into compliance.

Cormack said the two non-compliant applicants would be given time to
come into compliance if they wish to.

"We will not fine them tomorrow. We are not going to take enforcement
action (right away)."

Councillor Bob Adams said the entire licensing system should be
scrapped until the federal government comes out with more regulatory
detail, and voted against the decision to allow the five licences.
Councillor Janice Morrision also voted against it.

Other councillors and the mayor voted in favour.

Phil McMillan, the owner of the Compassion Club, was angered by the

He told the media that he had asked city management staff for a form
to apply for a variance, and was told he had to go through the
business licence application process first, which he has done. So he
was surprised when the licencing decision appeared to be a done deal.

He wants the city to vary the requirement to have more than one
employee on site at all times, and he doesn't want to buy an expensive
security system when he doesn't know if he can stay in his current
location because of the city's location requirements.

He wants a break on the $5000 licence fee because his business is a
registered non-profit, and he pointed out that in Vancouver a cannabis
business licence is $30,000 but reduced to $1,000 for

And he said he is unwilling to keep his security gate shutters down
because his clients are there for medical reasons and need their privacy.

"My members not only have a legal right to their privacy and their
medicine, but I have a legal responsibility to their privacy, and that
is the only reason I am not lifting the security gate, which I could
do tomorrow."

He said he had originally thought he could apply to vary these things
before a decision was made on whether he would be granted a license.

But Frances Long, the city's manager of corporate services, told the
Star that McMillan will now have to make a formal request for
variances, and that they will be decided by council.

"Medical marijuana has been legal since 1999," McMillan

"We are fighting a dispute over regulations. This is a regulatory
dispute on how it is sold. But the Supreme Court of Canada has ruled
that patients have a right to access."

The materials considered by council including some correspondence
between businesses and the city, and a matrix of the city's reasons
for its decision, are attached below.
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