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Vernon council not interested in restricting marijuana sales

Shop co-owner Imre Kovacs at the Herbal Health Centre in Vernon.
Image Credit: Charlotte Helston
August 16, 2016 - 10:30 AM

VERNON - Vernon city council has chosen to stand back while the federal government works out a plan for regulating marijuana sales.

The topic of looking into a bylaw amendment that would ban retail marijuana sales came up at a public meeting yesterday, Aug. 15, but a majority of councillors showed no interest in pursuing the concept.

The Town of Osoyoos recently approved a bylaw change that makes it illegal to sell marijuana in that community.

“There is a lot of uncertainty in terms of the whole business of marijuana. We’re not in control of a lot of that,” Coun. Juliette Cunningham said.

While marijuana dispensaries are technically illegal under current federal law, the government is expected to come out with legislation for the legalization of marijuana in the spring of 2017.

Instead of having staff investigate possible zoning bylaw changes to restrict retail marijuana sales, Cunningham wanted to step back and await the federal government’s new legislation.

“It’s unfolding,” Cunningham said. “It’s going to take a while.”

Cunningham, as well as Coun. Catherine Lord and Mayor Akbal Mund, felt it would be a waste of time to have staff look into the zoning amendment.

“I don’t support having staff spend a tremendous amount of time on this,” Cunningham said.

Coun. Scott Anderson expressed concern about another aspect of the medical marijuana industry — the odour from residential grow-ops. He pointed out that neither the RCMP, the city, nor Health Canada, appear to have the authority to monitor such facilities, and said local residents are suffering the fallout.

“In effect we have two of the bodies that are supposed to be doing this (RCMP and Health Canada) claiming helplessness and this is a real problem,” Anderson said, adding he’s received complaints from multiple residents about strong marijuana odours in their neighbourhoods.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston or call 250-309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2016
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