Pubdate: Wed, 19 Jul 2017
Source: Penticton Herald (CN BC)
Copyright: 2017 The Okanagan Valley Group of Newspapers
Author: Joe Fries
Page: A1


Existing businesses will be asked to convert to 'wellness

After experimenting with marijuana dispensaries for seven months,
Penticton city council voted Tuesday to ban the pot shops outright.

And the two dispensaries to which council granted now-expired
temporary use permits in December 2016 will now be asked to covert to
so-called "wellness centres" dealing only in information and smoking
accessories - not bud.

The decision not to renew the TUPs was made by a 5-2 vote of council,
with Max Picton and Tarik Sayeed in opposition.

Coun. Judy Sentes noted legalization of the drug seemed imminent when
the TUPs were approved last year, but that changed this spring when
the federal government announced a July 1, 2018, target date to
legitimize recreational use of marijuana.

"The fact that it's still illegal haunts me," said

"If the (federal) government would have come through, we would be
having an entirely different discussion. The way that it is now, I
think this is the only resolution we can do."

Picton said the TUPs were meant as a trial program aimed at testing
the community's response to dispensaries and helping those with
medical conditions get easier access to marijuana.

"I still feel that this serves a need in the community," he

"I did not receive negative feedback from the community, either
emails, phone calls of any kind, staff had not heard any negative
feedback, so my view is that the temporary use permits should be extended."

Development services manager Anthony Haddad said the city's lawyers
will now work with the owners of the Green Essence and Okanagan
Cannabinoid Therapy dispensaries to create court-approved consent
orders limiting them to serving only as wellness centres.

He described such centres as "a storefront business that would provide
information on accessing medical cannabis and lobby for marijuana

"The business could sell marijuana paraphernalia, including pipes,
accessories and such, but could not actually sell cannabis," continued
Haddad, who expects the conversion will take several months.

The same offer will be extended to the Herbal Green dispensary, which
was not granted a TUP and has subsequently engaged in legal action
with the city.
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MAP posted-by: Matt