Pubdate: Mon, 30 Oct 2017
Source: Daily Courier, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2017 The Okanagan Valley Group of Newspapers
Author: Ron Seymour
Page: A1


Staff report to be considered today by Kelowna city council recommends
marijuana be sold at private, public stores subject to municipal zoning

Marijuana should be sold at privately owned pot shops as well as
government-controlled stores, Kelowna officials say.

But municipalities should be able to control the number of pot shops,
as well as set regulations covering their size and location, says a
report going to city council today.

City officials also suggest an unspecified minimum distance be set
between liquor stores and pot shops.

These are the main recommendations from city officials in response to
the B.C. government's public consultation process on how marijuana
should be distributed and sold when the drug becomes legal next July.

"Cannabis should be sold from dedicated storefronts that can be
controlled through municipal land use," the report to council suggests.

A model similar to that currently used for the distribution and sale
of alcohol would be most familiar to British Columbians, city
officials suggest.

That means, among other things, that the legal age for marijuana use
should be 19 or higher, the same as it is for alcohol, city staff
write in the report to council.

They also suggest a personal possession maximum of 30 grams be set for
adults, but that pot smoking be banned in all outdoor locations "with
the exception of locally determined marijuana smoking areas."

Council will debate staff's recommendations today with a view to
either endorsing them in their entirety or revising certain sections.

The recommendation from City of Kelowna staff to allow privately owned
pot shops differs from the approach suggested last week by West
Kelowna. That council's recommendation to Victoria is that marijuana
retailing take place only through government-owned stores.

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

Today's debate at Kelowna council is likely to see adoption of the
staff's recommendation, as a majority of councillors have already
signalled their support for municipalities having control over where
pot shops would be allowed. "We're not talking about medical
marijuana," Coun. Luke Stack said in April. "We're talking about
recreational marijuana. I can't see there being any less regulation
(for those kind of stores) than we see today for liquor store outlets."

At that meeting, Coun. Charlie Hodge was the only one to suggest the
city not try to impose rules on the location and size of pot shops.

"I don't see any reason why (pot shops) shouldn't be treated like any
other retail outlet," Hodge said.
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