HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Municipalities Welcome Role In Deciding Where To Locate Pot
Pubdate: Thu, 08 Feb 2018
Source: Province, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2018 Postmedia Network Inc.
Contact:  http://www.theprovince.com/
Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/476
Author: Jennifer Saltman
Page: 15

MUNICIPALITIES WELCOME ROLE IN DECIDING WHERE TO LOCATE POT SHOPS

Municipalities across Metro Vancouver are considering their options
when it comes to allowing legal cannabis retailers in their
communities, following the release of new provincial policy around
licensing.

This week, the B.C. government said that under its proposed framework
for the retail sales of non-medical cannabis, residents aged 19 and
older will be able to buy cannabis through privately run or
government-operated retail stores and online through the government
once it is legalized in July.

The Liquor Distribution Branch will operate public retail stores and
the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch will license and monitor
private stores.

"I thought the legislation was actually quite good when it came out,"
said District of North Vancouver Mayor Richard Walton. "The provincial
regulations seemed to be right in line with what we thought they should be."

The rules give municipalities a measure of control over sales in their
communities, stipulating local governments can decide whether they
want a non-medical cannabis retail store - public or private - in
their community.

"We're glad to see that and we have some role to play there," said
City of North Vancouver Mayor Darrell Mussatto.

Metro Vancouver municipalities have taken a variety of approaches to
retail marijuanasales, from referring the matter to staff and forming
committees, to coming up with their own frameworks before the
announcement.

Dan Layng, chief licence inspector for the City of Burnaby, said the
city has struck a committee.

The three North Shore municipalities are among the many that have
referred the matter to staff for further examination.

Richmond has taken a similar tack, despite having written a letter to
the federal and provincial governments in October opposing
legalization altogether.

"We are in the process of having staff analyze the situation," said
Mayor Malcolm Brodie. "We'll be coming forward in the weeks to come to
talk about what kind of regulation we want around retail sale."

However, he said Richmond wants to maintain zoning control and he
envisions something similar to the regulations around public and
private liquor stores, which place limits on factors such as where
they can be located.

Mayor Jonathan Cote said New Westminster seeks to regulate cannabis
retailers with a framework similar to that used for private liquor
stores in the city, though council and staff are still ironing out
details.

Cote said the city anticipates having its framework implemented in
early fall but no retail outlets will be allowed to open before then,
even if federal legalization comes in July as expected.

Last month, White Rock council adopted a zoning bylaw amendment that
essentially prevents cannabis retailers from setting up

shop before the province has provided more details about its
approach.

Port Coquitlam is taking a similar wait-and-see approach and planning
to revisit its current restrictions after new federal and provincial
legislation is in place. There is no timeline for this process.

At least two cities - Vancouver and Surrey - have already come up with
policies.

For almost three years, Vancouver has been working to license
qualified marijuana-related businesses and take enforcement action
against and close those that are operating without licences.

Though about 20 businesses have received Vancouver's stamp of approval
and licences, they will not receive preferential treatment and will
have to apply to the province for licensing along with new businesses.

Surrey plans to spend the next few months implementing its new
framework, which includes research and implementation checklists for
zoning and land use, bylaws and regulations, inspection and
enforcement, revenue and economic development, education and public
engagement.

Mayor Linda Hepner called the approach "balanced, appropriate and
evidence-based." It will be shared with other municipalities.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Matt