KAMLOOPS - A group of Kamloops residents concerned for their safety if a marijuana dispensary opens in their building took the issue to city hall, but were told the city’s hands are tied until decisions are made at a federal level.
Residents of the Hillside Lofts development on Hillside Drive in Dufferin are concerned about a new business planning to open in the commercial area of the building. It's advertised to be a medical marijuana dispensary. In particular, they’re worried about their safety at home, citing robberies and violent actions at other dispensaries in B.C.
John Stewart, a resident speaking on behalf of the group, says those who live in the building could be in harms way if a dispensary opens below them.
“We’re there 24 hours a day, those businesses are there 10 hours a day. When stuff happens at night it’s these people here who are affected,” he says. “Once they close the doors at eight o’clock at night, it’s these people here that have to live with what goes on during the night, if someone fire bombs it or if someone drives a truck through the window.”
In response to the group's presentation to council, Mayor Peter Milobar told them he appreciates the concern, but the city is waiting for higher levels of government to take action before creating bylaws and policy in Kamloops.
“If you’re asking if we’re able to prevent outright, at this point, it gets very complicated,” Mayor Peter Milobar told the group. “Unfortunately, we’re all in a very big grey area of waiting until we see what the federal government does and how the provincial governments across the country enact those rules and regulations.”
Stewart says immediate action wasn't expected, but the hope is bringing the issue up to council now will impact future decisions. He’d like to see a city bylaw restricting where dispensaries can be located, keeping them to standalone or commercial only sites.
“Having residents live above it is not the correct location,” he says. “It doesn’t belong in a mixed used building.”
Currently the store is being renovated, Stewart says.
No applications have come to the city to operate any commercial enterprises at the address on Hillside Drive.
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