Marijuana shops high on municipal agenda

Even small towns struggle with unregulated pot shops as Justin Trudeau government holds hearings on legalization

Storefront marijuana operations continue to open in B.C. communities

B.C. communities struggling to deal with unregulated marijuana sales are looking for help, or a piece of the action as growers and sellers compete for a share of the expanding legal market.

Pot problems are high on the agenda for the annual Union of B.C. Municipalities convention in September, as local governments continue to deal with fire hazards and retail outlets selling untested marijuana products in defiance of federal and local laws.

Nelson and Duncan councils are calling on the provincial and federal governments to share tax revenue with local governments, when the Justin Trudeau government puts its plan to legalize recreational marijuana sales next year.

Nelson also wants a say in the legalization process, as a federal-provincial task force tours the country to hear from public health, police and substance abuse experts.

For now, B.C. is the Wild West of pot production. Communities that try to regulate quasi-medical dispensaries find their tickets and orders ignored as shops proliferate in a legal vacuum.

Langley fire officials determined this week that a recent house fire was caused by an explosion in a marijuana “extraction lab” using butane as a solvent. The process is used to make “honey oil” and “shatter,” a crystal concentrate that is one of the most potent marijuana preparations. Oils and concentrates are sold in some dispensaries and used in baked goods.

Nelson recently saw its eighth pot store open without a business licence, as it considers regulations adopted in Kimberly and Vancouver. Sooke has three dispensaries, as the issue moves to smaller communities.

In the Okanagan, communities are taking a harder line. Penticton has cancelled the business licences of medical marijuana shops, despite their arguments that they are “compassion clubs” supplying people with legally recognized medical uses.

Vernon council voted down a proposal to develop its own bylaw regulating dispensaries, as Victoria and other communities are doing. A staff report advised councillors that business licences have not been issued because storefront sales remain illegal in Canada.

 

Just Posted

VIDEO: Vancouver Giants earn a 3-1 victory over Everett in season-opener in Langley

Langley’s major junior hockey team opened the season at home with a victory over the Silvertips.

White Rock rail forum leads to renewed calls for relocation

Upgrading safety is not enough say local politicians

McCallum says Surrey LRT communication plan close to election is ‘perceived interference’

McCallum ‘gravely concerned’ Surrey and TransLink will violate election financing rules, but city says all rules will be followed

White Rock’s Johnston Road to re-open on schedule: city

One lane in each direction expected to open by Friday at 7 p.m.

VIDEO: Neighbours fear impact of B.C. tent city residents

Greater Victoria residents opposed to campers voice concerns at provincial campground

Tornado touches down in Ottawa and Gatineau, Que.

Environment Canada says cars and homes have been damaged by severe thunderstorms and high wind gusts

B.C. premier apologizes for removal of 1950s totem pole at Canada-U.S. border

First Nations say pole was raised at Peace Arch but removed to make way for tourism centre

An unexpected sight: Bear spotted eating another bear in central B.C.

Cheslatta Carrier Nation Chief finds bear eating another bear’s carcass

Free vet clinic caters to pets of homeless, low income people

The first such clinic in Langley will take place later this month.

RCMP confirm death of missing BC teen Jessica Patrick

No details on cause were given. Case is under criminal investigation and police are asking for tips.

Extradition hearing set for Lower Mainland developer accused of fraud

Mark Chandler will go before the B.C. Court of Appeals early next year.

CUTENESS OVERLOAD: 2 sea otters hold hands at the Vancouver Aquarium

Holding hands is a common – and adorable – way for otters to stay safe in the water

B.C. teen with autism a talented guitarist

Farley Mifsud is gaining fans with every performance

Most Read