Pubdate: Wed, 25 Oct 2017
Source: Daily Courier, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2017 The Okanagan Valley Group of Newspapers
Author: Ron Seymour
Page: A4


Members of city council agree on need for tight regulatory framework
once marijuana is legalized next summer

Marijuana should be sold only in government-controlled stores when the
drug is legalized next summer, West Kelowna council says.

A tight regulatory framework is preferable to a free-market approach,
at least in the initial stages of the drug's legalization, city
councillors said Tuesday.

"It could be loosened (over time), as it seems reasonable to do so,"
Coun. Bryden Winsby said.

"There'd be all kinds of opportunities later, if it works, to change
the retailing system," Coun. Duane Ophus said.

Like all B.C. municipalities, West Kelowna is being asked to provide
input to the provincial government on what rules should apply when pot
is legalized on July 1.

At Tuesday's meeting, West Kelowna councillors also agreed that
current rules against smoking cigarettes in public places, such as
within three metres of a commercial doorway or in a park, should also
apply to marijuana.

"My opinion is we've had a long battle to start to close off the
public consumption of tobacco," Mayor Doug Findlater said. "I'd like
to continue to restrict the public consumption of tobacco, as well as
stinky pot."

Councillors also reaffirmed their intention to put a half-dozen
so-called marijuanadispensaries, which currently sell the drug in
violation of federal law, out of business.

Two of the shops had their business licences revoked earlier this
month. All six of the pot shops, four of which operate without a
business licence, have been sent a letter advising them to close by
Oct. 31 or face a daily fine of $500.

Should the provincial government ultimately adopt a retailing model
that allows for private businesses to sell marijuana, West Kelowna
intends to bring in a local zoning system that will restrict where
they can operate.

"We particularly don't want them on our Main Street, where we've got
four or five, I'm not sure," Findlater said. "That is preventing other
(business) people from locating on Main Street. And others have left
that area because they don't want to be associated with it.

"The ones on Main Street are problematic when we're trying to create
some vibrancy there," Findlater said.

Council's move to shut down the pot shops is denounced by one person
who says she depends on marijuana she buys from one of the

"Legalization is just around the corner, so knock it off with this
rubbish," reads part of a letter sent to councillors by West Kelowna
resident Monik Robichaud.
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