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Vernon council will 'sit back and wait' when it comes to pot dispensaries

Hasia Glaim of the MMJ Total Health Centre downtown Vernon.
January 26, 2016 - 2:30 PM

VERNON - A Vernon pot dispensary made a pitch to work openly, transparently and collaboratively with local government, but city council is showing no sign of getting involved just yet.

Jeff Gaudette, the president of the MMJ Total Health Centre on 31 Street, spoke to council Jan. 26 about the industry and where it’s headed.

“This has been in the news for a long time, it’s a hot topic everywhere. What we need to do is stop looking at us as a problem, and maybe as a solution,” Gaudette said.

He said his dispensary wants to work with the city to ensure it meets bylaw requirements and establish regulations so all access centres operate to the same standard. Where dispensaries are located, how many there are in the city, and hours of operation are all topics Gaudette said he’d be willing to discuss with the city moving forward.

“Vernon is a progressive town, it looks forward and it moves forward,” Gaudette said. “This could be something that could be very beneficial to staying ahead of the pack or setting standards that aren’t there now.”

But council didn’t take the opportunity to ask any questions following the presentation, and Mayor Akbal Mund told reporters he doesn’t expect the city to get involved.

“Until such time as the federal government deals with this we’ll just sit back and wait for direction from them,” Mund said.

Asked if the city could lend its support to medical marijuana access centres and direct local law enforcement to ease off, Mund said that’s not something council has the power to do. Vernon RCMP warned five local dispensaries to close in 2015.

“We won’t get into the RCMP end of it because you know… the city doesn’t deal with criminal code infractions, the RCMP does,” Mund said.

Coun. Bob Spiers said while he supports patient access to medical marijuana and thinks the current legislation is a ‘stupid law’, there’s really nothing the city can do but wait for the federal government to move forward with legalization.

“I don’t think we have any kind of way of influencing them one way or another. This is a federal matter, and for us to license medical marijuana dispensaries right now and say what they’re doing is legal, is completely beyond the scope of the municipality. The municipality couldn’t do that by law,” Spiers said.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at or call 250-309-5230. To contact the editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

News from © iNFOnews, 2016

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