Marijuana shops high on municipal agenda

Even small towns struggle with unregulated pot shops as Justin Trudeau government holds hearings on legalization

Storefront marijuana operations continue to open in B.C. communities

B.C. communities struggling to deal with unregulated marijuana sales are looking for help, or a piece of the action as growers and sellers compete for a share of the expanding legal market.

Pot problems are high on the agenda for the annual Union of B.C. Municipalities convention in September, as local governments continue to deal with fire hazards and retail outlets selling untested marijuana products in defiance of federal and local laws.

Nelson and Duncan councils are calling on the provincial and federal governments to share tax revenue with local governments, when the Justin Trudeau government puts its plan to legalize recreational marijuana sales next year.

Nelson also wants a say in the legalization process, as a federal-provincial task force tours the country to hear from public health, police and substance abuse experts.

For now, B.C. is the Wild West of pot production. Communities that try to regulate quasi-medical dispensaries find their tickets and orders ignored as shops proliferate in a legal vacuum.

Langley fire officials determined this week that a recent house fire was caused by an explosion in a marijuana “extraction lab” using butane as a solvent. The process is used to make “honey oil” and “shatter,” a crystal concentrate that is one of the most potent marijuana preparations. Oils and concentrates are sold in some dispensaries and used in baked goods.

Nelson recently saw its eighth pot store open without a business licence, as it considers regulations adopted in Kimberly and Vancouver. Sooke has three dispensaries, as the issue moves to smaller communities.

In the Okanagan, communities are taking a harder line. Penticton has cancelled the business licences of medical marijuana shops, despite their arguments that they are “compassion clubs” supplying people with legally recognized medical uses.

Vernon council voted down a proposal to develop its own bylaw regulating dispensaries, as Victoria and other communities are doing. A staff report advised councillors that business licences have not been issued because storefront sales remain illegal in Canada.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Esquimalt artists take to great outdoors amid coronavirus

Group invites budding, or just willing artists, to join at Saxe Point

Langford firefighters raise $1,065 for Burn Camp

B.C. firefighters and burn survivors raise $200,068 this year for Burn Camp

Victoria church to ring bells for 75th anniversary of atomic bombings

Bells expected at 8:15 a.m. on Aug. 6 and 11:50 a.m. on Aug. 9

VicPD find used, uncapped needle tied to handrail in Beacon Hill Park

Officers believe the needle was put there with the intent to harm someone

PHOTOS: Kids, parents cool off at Langford splash park

Centennial Park is home to a popular water feature

VIDEO: Otter pups learn to swim at B.C. wildlife rescue facility

Watch Critter Care’s Nathan Wagstaffe help seven young otters go for their first dip

SOOKE HISTORY: A peek into the journal of John George Whiffin

Elida Peers | Contributed One of our most popular walks is on… Continue reading

Michael Buble among 13 British Columbians to receive Order of B.C.

Ceremony will be delayed to 2021 due to COVID-19

U.S. border communities feel loss of Canadian tourists, shoppers and friends

Restrictions on non-essential travel across the Canada-U.S. border have been in place since March 2`

Rollout of COVID-19 Alert app faces criticism over accessibility

App requires users to have Apple or Android phones made in the last five years, and a relatively new operating system

Alleged impaired driver sparks small wildfire near Lytton after crash: B.C. RCMP

Good Samaritans prevented the blaze from getting out of control

B.C. First Nation adopts ‘digital twinning’ software to better manage territory

Software allows users to visualize what a mountain might look like if the trees on its slopes were logged

Woman arrested near Nanaimo beach after alleged road rage incidents

37-year-old woman facing charges including assault, assaulting a police officer, impaired driving

Most Read