Mayor and council heard from a vocal audience of 40 people, all but one supported retail sales of cannabis in Hope, at a public hearing July 4. After instating a prohibition on retail sales of cannabis in July, the District is now gather public opinion on how to proceed in regulating cannabis once it becomes legal across Canada Oct. 17. Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard

Hope council gets rolling on recreational cannabis by surveying residents

Survey will ask residents, business owners about sale, consumption and home growing of recreational marijuana

Locals will soon get their say on how they want their community to deal with the impending legalization of recreational marijuana, as the District of Hope prepares to mail out a survey to Hope residents.

The District of Hope prohibited retail sales of marijuana in July ahead of an Oct. 17 Canada-wide legalization of the substance. District staff stressed this was a temporary measure at the time and are now looking to gauge public opinion on how residents want to see recreational marijuana sold and regulated through a survey.

The mail-out will include the same questions as a survey sent to Abbotsford residents, with an added question on whether residents support an increase in bylaw costs related to recreational marijuana. Residents will be asked their views on the sale, consumption and home growing of recreational marijuana, referred to as non-medicinal cannabis in the Abbotsford survey.

Cannabis Survey Abbotsford by Ingrid Peacock on Scribd

Mayor and council will then take these answers and fashion bylaws. While the District of Hope is limited in how it can regulate a soon-to-be legal substance, it can decide on retail locations and rules, public consumption and how land is used related to cannabis sales.

RELATED: Retail sales of cannabis prohibited in Hope, for now

“It could involve bylaw, business licensing, zoning, there could even be building code changes as a result. And simple questions, that seem simple but the answers aren’t. How many retailers do you want in a district? How close should they be? Where should they be? These are all important questions that council will have to tackle” said Hope’s chief administrative officer John Fortoloczky, at an Aug. 27 meeting.

Councillors Scott Medlock, Donna Kropp and Gerry Dyble all expressed the need for the survey process to proceed quickly. Coun. Heather Stewin, meanwhile, criticized the lack of action so far and said the district can refer to guides and draft bylaws put out by the province and the Union of BC Municipalities.

“As long as I’ve lived in Hope, there have been retail sales of cannabis, they just haven’t been advertised or marketed. So it’s here and I think that we need to get our heads above water and realize that stalling, surveys, whatever, is not going to stop people from smoking pot. It’s going to happen,” she said.

“Ever since the federal government announced they were going to legalize cannabis, there have been seminars after seminars after seminars about it, and we’ve done nothing. And now we sit here today, what, a month and a half away from legalization looking at a survey.”

In response to a question from The Hope Standard on whether Mayor and council should have started work sooner, Mayor Wilfried Vicktor said there is still plenty of time to engage the public.

“We can’t do anything final until Oct. 17 anyways, so there’s no impending doom here. Like Abbotsford’s outright said they’re going to wait it out, wait and see what other communities do,” he said.

“My personal opinion has always been, until we know exactly what the province wants to do, it’s hard to put regulations in place based on a playing field that’s always changing.”

RELATED: B.C. First Nations get into growing, selling marijuana before legalization

Stewin was the only vote opposed to a July bylaw change prohibiting the retail sales of cannabis in Hope. After a local election Oct. 20, the new Mayor and council will have to decide whether to remove this prohibition.

The survey, one copy of which will be mailed out to each household by Sept. 10 to 12, will give council information about what the majority of Hope residents think. District staff estimate the process should cost under $1,000.

A July 4 public hearing with 40 attendees, while ‘articulate and vocal’, is a minority of voices and not enough to base policy on the Mayor stressed.

“There was less than one per cent of the population there, so it would be in poor taste to make large decisions without consulting the rest of the community,” he said.

Some councillors made clear their views on the substance during the Aug. 27 meeting, with Coun. Bob Erickson repeating his view that marijuana can be legalized but cannot be made healthy.

“I’ll never use it. I can’t see it ever being healthy and I look back at the history of smoking. Smoking used to be used as a medical device to cure a lot of lung problems,” he said.

“Sure some of the oils might be good and people say they are, but as far as the smoking part of it we’ll really see some problems down the road as far as medical problems, people’s ability to think clearly and use their reasoning power.”

RELATED: No retail marijuana sales in Hope anytime soon

Despite personal preferences, councillors agreed the work needed to proceed to regulate the soon-legal substance.

“I’m not a pot smoker myself, nor do I intend to be one, but I do believe that the retail sector will be providing that option for people in the very near future,” Kropp said.

“We may or may not decide to have retail outlets in our community, depending on what bylaws we create for that. But the thing about it is, it’s going to come. I like to be prepared for things that are coming.”

If residents have questions about the survey, they can contact District Hall at 604-869-5671 or visit 325 Wallace St.

Is there more to this story?

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter


“Bylaw 1428 is a complete roadblock for me as a business owner in trying to provide this for our community,” said Lonnie Warren at a July 4 public hearing on a bylaw change which would prohibit retail sales of cannabis in Hope. Warren, owner of Treehouse Health Foods, has plans to open a dispensary in Hope. Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard

Just Posted

Rainfall warning: Up to 70 mm expected across Fraser Valley

Environment Canada issued a weather warning heading into the long weekend

No more mobile vendors on Harrison beach

The approval of an updated business licence bylaw means Nolan Irwin is without a cart

BC Ferries to pilot selling beer and wine on select routes

Drinks from select B.C. breweries and VQA wineries to be sold on Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen route

Harrison Festival releases 2019 line up

The 41st annual Harrison Festival of the Arts will be held from July 12 to 21

Fisheries Department announces conservation measures to protect chinook in B.C.

Urgent protection measures include closure of a commercial fishery involving seven endangered stock

VIDEO: Alberta man creates world’s biggest caricature

Dean Foster is trying to break the world record for a radio show contest

Man driving wrong way on Highway 17 ‘seriously’ injured after crash: Surrey RCMP

Police say the driver hit a transport truck, then another car after merging from the off-ramp onto highway

Should B.C. lower speed limits on side roads to 30 km/h?

Vancouver city councillor wants to decrease speed limits along neighbourhood side roads

Lawsuit eyed over union-only raise for B.C. community care workers

‘Low-wage redress’ leaves 17,000 employees out, employers say

Landlord of alleged Okanagan shooter recounts deadly day

Tony Friesen was working in one of the units of his Penticton building when he heard shots

Foreign national arrested in connection to thefts at YVR

A woman, 60, is being held in police custody as Richmond RCMP investigate

Police pursue pesky porker on Vancouver Island

‘This was allegedly not the pig’s first escape’

Rare ‘Snow Tower’ tree blooming in Vancouver city park

A plant rarely grown in Canada is now flowering at the Bloedel Conservatory in Queen Elizabeth Park

Westjet tries again to dismiss proposed class-action lawsuit alleging discrimination

Former flight attendant claims airline broke contractual promise to create harassment-free workplace

Most Read