Big Brother, small town

The city council of Langford, Vancouver Island throws their weight around
and shuts down a budding hemp store by banning all forms of cannabis hemp
within city limits

small town

By Nicole Nicholson

Fear and Ignorance Strike Again

Langford is a small city on Vancouver Island whose city council is very opposed to all forms of cannabis. On June 17 the Langford City Council passed Bylaw 148, which bans cannabis sativa and any “related items,” and prohibits the opening of any hemp store within city limits.The Vancouver Island community created the bylaw when Pattie Desisle, of the Island Hemp Community in Duncan, attempted to open a store on Happy Valley Road in Langford. She acquired a space next to a coffee shop and across the street from an arcade, and in the window she hung a sign stating “Coming soon: Happy Valley Hemp.” This sign, meant to generate interest for her prospective business, instead alerted fearful and ignorant citizens to the opening of a “drug paraphernalia” store.

Although Patti had actually planned to focus the store on industrial hemp products, the fearful objectors never asked her what she was going to sell. The day she went to apply for her business license was the day the bylaw was originally proposed.

The original form of the bylaw prohibited hemp products from being sold within three kilometers of a school. When Pattie revealed that she had intentions of relocating her business to comply with the bylaw, it was amended to encompass the entire municipality.

The Council Meeting

On June 17 the bylaw was adopted. Of course, it met with opposition, but it was too late, the public hearings had already been held. When Norm Chollette took up the podium during public participation, council informed him that they would not hear any speeches dealing with hemp or the bylaw, and then promptly adjourned for a recess. Chollette gave an impassioned speech to the public that was present, then left on his own steam. Six police cruisers showed up to deal with the offending protester but they were too late.

The Council meeting continued until they came to the last item on the agenda, Bylaw 148. They voted to adopt the bylaw and adjourned the meeting. Ted Smith (of