CANNABIS CULTURE – A public hearing regarding the City of Vancouver’s proposed regulations for medical marijuana dispensaries will be held at City Hall on Wednesday, June 10, 2015, at 6 PM.
To register to speak at the hearing, members of the public can send an email to [email protected] or call 604-829-4238 after 8:30 am on Friday, May 29.
Citizens have been invited to provide comments to Mayor and Council at [email protected] and they will be distributed to Council in advance of the hearing.
The City’s new rules include a licensing 30,000 fee and rules prohibiting locations within 300 meters of a school, community centre, “youth-serving facility”, or another “Marijuana-Related” business, including each other.
A “special evaluative process” based on a point system will be used to determine which businesses will be forced to close. Dispensaries will earn demerits for things like being “considered a problem premises by Vancouver Police Department” and being an “enterprise operated for profit.”
CBC News has identified 93 marijuana dispensaries in Vancouver and reports that “about 40 per cent of Vancouver’s marijuana businesses are less than 300 metres away from city schools and community centres — putting them in violation of the city’s proposed regulation on pot dispensaries.”
See the map from the CBC:
Green markers: Marijuana business located more than 300 metres from a school or community centre
Red markers: Marijuana business located less than 300 metres from a school or community centre
Blue dots: Community centres
Pink dots: Public schools
Federal rules against marijuana possession and trafficking prohibit the dispensaries completely, and the Harper government’s Health Minister Rona Ambrose said she’s “deeply concerned” about the City’s plans in a letter to Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson.
“Legitimizing and normalizing the use and sale of marijuana can have only one effect: increasing marijuana use and addiction,” Ambrose said.
Robertson rejected the warnings and told reporters, “the city’s approach right now is a common-sense one to deal with regulating the proliferation – we have over 80 of these dispensaries and they exist because of the federal landscape and the actions taken or not taken by the federal government.”
The Mayor also said medical marijuana outlets would need to be limited in certain ways.
“As a city, we just can’t let these shops be everywhere all over town. And certainly we don’t want them close to schools. We don’t want access for kids to be as easy as it has been. So we’re taking some steps, looking at a public hearing to consider those in the days ahead and we want to be sure, first and foremost, that kids are not getting access as we’ve seen in the past.”
The Globe and Mail reported earlier this month that “City councillors in Victoria have asked staff to draft new business and zoning regulations for marijuana dispensaries that could include licence fees and ban minors from the premises in response to public concern over a surge in new outlets.”
Vancouver City Councillors discussed the Public Hearing in a meeting on April 28, 2015. Watch footage from the meeting regarding the medical marijuana rules on Pot TV:
Stay tuned to Cannabis Culture for more news on medical marijuana in Vancouver.
Watch the hearing LIVE, June 10 at 6PM on the City Council website.