Kamloops councillors won't budge on permits for cannabis dispensaries

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KAMLOOPS – A process to develop temporary use licenses for cannabis dispensaries will not be pursued by the City of Kamloops.

At today's meeting, city councillors debated whether or not they should decline the opportunity to pursue a temporary use permit process for existing illegal cannabis dispensaries. The motion passed by a vote of seven to two. Couns. Dennis Walsh and Donovan Cavers were opposed, favouring a process to develop temporary use permits for dispensaries.

Coun. Tina Lange says that illegal dispensaries created their own problems by choosing to sell a product that isn’t sanctioned or legal.

“They decided to take that gamble,” she said. “That’s not the fault of city staff, or the mayor and council. I don’t think we, as council, should be trying to fix that for them by putting in these temporary use permits.”

Mayor Ken Christian is laying blame at the federal government, past and current, for their handling of the medical marijuana legalization and the retail marijuana legalization. He said the City is left to pick up the pieces. Christian also wants the provincial government to take action.

“I urge and implore the provincial government to forget about Airbnb, forget about Uber and deal with the retail marijuana situation in British Columbia,” Christian said.

With the uncertain timeline of when the legalization of cannabis will come into effect, some councillors said that the time has passed for temporary use permits to be effective.

“I believe we have missed the boat in terms of timeline,” Coun. Kathy Sinclair said. “In terms of practicality and moving forward with the legalization of cannabis shops, the time to have implemented temporary use permits was a year ago or more.”

Sinclair says that the council is not anti-cannabis and wants to incorporate the businesses into the Kamloops business community. And that it will take the municipality a lot of time and effort to get ready when the date is set for legalization of cannabis in Canada.

Cavers disagreed with the notion that the city has missed the boat on temporary use permits. He says with the legalization of cannabis still being discussed in the Senate, it could still take a long time before the legalization of cannabis comes into place.


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