Pubdate: Fri, 26 May 2017
Source: Grand Forks Gazette (CN BC)
Copyright: 2017 Black Press
Author: Kathleen Saylors


A report about a potential dispensary bylaw led to questions about
city involvement in RCMP matters.

After City of Grand Forks heard a presentation on the potential legal
ramifications of having a dispensary bylaw last week, questions arose
from the gallery on the city's involvement in the recent RCMP action
towards dispensaries in the city.

Dave Smith from Smithplan Consulting presented the report to council
on the legal consequences and actions the city could take on
dispensaries within city limits, which was requested at the March 13
Committee of the Whole.

The report provided background information, and noted that many of the
regulations surrounding cannabis are "outside of local government

"Any regulatory frameworks set up today, may well need to be adjusted,
changed revised or tweaked," the report notes.

The report also outlines the differences between medical and
recreational use and the legal parameters for each. Medicinal
marijuana, while tightly controlled, is legal, while recreational use
is still illegal and marijuana is a substance controlled under the
Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.

The report also notes the recent federal government announcement that
marijuana will be legalized by July 18, 2018.

In other jurisdictions, local governments have taken action to control
dispensaries through limiting the availability through bylaws,
regulating land use, setting fees and establishing separation
distances. Some municipalities that have done this successfully are
Vancouver and Victoria, as well as Squamish and Nelson, the report

Following the report council took questions from the audience. Former
dispensary owner Teresa Taylor asked questions to council about the
city's decision to deny her dispensary - Herbivore Cannabis - a
business license.

"I applied for a license … I was denied my license because I was
quoted in the newspaper saying I was operating in advance of the law,
which is me speaking openly about the industry we are in," Taylor
said. "When it was denied that letter was sent to the RCMP and within
weeks they attended my business."

Taylor said she felt it was discriminatory, given that another
business in town held a general retail business license while
operating a dispensary. Taylor also said her business license denial
letter was copied to RCMP Sgt. Jim Fenske and questioned whether that
was normal practice.

In response to a question from the Gazette, Grand Forks mayor Frank
Konrad said he could not confirm if the letter was copied to the RCMP
but would be "dismayed" if it had. Interim Chief Administrative
Officer (CAO) Diane Heinrich also said she could not confirm whether
the letter had been copied to Grand Forks RCMP.

"That is not our normal practise to do that, not at all. Like I
mentioned earlier, this is our business within the corporation. We do
not step into theirs and we do not instruct them what to do," Konrad
said. "To the best of my knowledge and I trust in the organization and
the staff that this would not have occurred. That would be a form of
interference into [RCMP] business."
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