WHITE ROCK – Anyone wanting to grow or distribute medical marijuana in White Rock is out of luck.
Ahead of expected changes on the federal level to medicinal marijuana growing operations, White Rock council on Monday effectively banned any production or distribution of the drug under any type of zoning in the city.
The move came just one month after a delegation of medicinal marijuana advocates approached council about backing local users. At that time, David Hutchinson implored council to back local users by requesting support from other levels of government.
Hutchinson, who lives in South Surrey, became an advocate for medical marijuana when his teenaged daughter, Beth, began using it to treat her pain after she was diagnosed with a brain tumour. While Beth passed away this past fall, Hutchinson has continued to advocate on her behalf.
"We need more understanding in the community and I ask you to support the patients in your district," said Hutchinson to council at the time.
Joy Davies urged council to strike down the prohibiting bylaw prior to their vote Monday night. Noting concerns over fire hazards or criminal elements were negligible at best, Davies argued the bylaw would only make it more difficult for patients to access the drug.
"This is not progressive and this is not protecting those with ill health," she said. "Last year 1,500 people died from Tylenol and every nine minutes somebody dies from pharmaceuticals. This time we ask you do nothing on zoning because we need large corporate medical marijuana growers. As a taxpayer and citizen of White Rock, don’t see us as part of the problem, we want to be part of the solution."
Following Davies’ comments, council voted unanimously to pass the bylaw, which was part of a set of omnibus bylaw zoning amendments.