Kamloops council not high on pot dispensaries

By Tanya Cronin
February 28, 2018 - 9:38am Updated: February 28, 2018 - 1:02pm

KAMLOOPS —The city has no plans to issue temporary operating licences to marijuana dispensaries in Kamloops, ahead of legalization this summer.

Kamloops council approved staff recommendations to deny existing pot shops a business licence because their main product is not yet legal. The city has tolerated dispensaries for a long time, and considered adopting temporary use permits in an attempt to regulate stores, which otherwise operate in a legal grey area. But Tuesday afternoon, council gave it the thumbs down, until provincial rules for legal canabis sales are put in place.

"Everyone has to have a business licence if you wish to operate in the City of Kamloops, and so far I haven't seen any reason why we would ever change those rules," says Councillor Pat Wallace. 

"The last government screwed up the medical marijuana file, and this government is screwing up the retail marijuana file, and we are left to pick up the pieces, and I urge and emplore the Provincial Government to forget about Airbnb, forget about Uber, deal with the retail marijuana situation in British Columbia," says Mayor Ken Christian.   

In December, council changed its business licensing and zoning bylaws, changes that included raising the maximum per-day fine for dispensaries operating without a business licence, to $10,000 in an effort to reduce the impact of problem stores, on their neighbourhoods. Council believes staff time and resources is better spent preparing for legalization of pot, and what that's going to look like for retail canabis operators.

"The bylaws on this one are challenges, but that's where the fines come in, going after landlords, going after people not acting well in those situations I think is fair ball, but if you're not bothering anybody and operating under the radar, I think we're good with that," says Councillor Arjun Singh. 

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