“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. Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard

Retail sales of cannabis prohibited in Hope, for now

Councillors want more public feedback as provincial regulations are expected by October

People looking to open up a retail business selling cannabis will find the doors are closed in Hope, for the time being.

After a spirited public hearing July 4 with 40 people in attendance, council voted Monday to add an amendment to a zoning bylaw which will prohibit retail sales of cannabis, with one councillor, Heather Stewin, opposed. Another motion, introduced by Coun. Scott Medlock, will start a process to gather views from the public to inform municipal work once provincial regulations on cannabis roll out in October.

The change to bylaw 1428 will include, under uses prohibited in all land, buildings and structures in all zones “the use or approval of any planning or business related retail sale or dispensing of cannabis, as well as the sale of cannabis-linked paraphernalia or by-products (e.g. edibles or infused liquids, etc.).”

Chief administrative officer at the district John Fortoloczky explained the bylaw change was the ‘best safeguard’ to the district.

“Municipalities are facing pressures by groups and individuals to get on board by providing areas or zones to provide that recreational marijuana,” he said.

“This gives the district the best tools to deal with illegal start-ups, ideally give you the buffer and the time, and the public the transparent knowledge that there’s a pause. You as a district have to tackle the big decision as to a) does the community want to have recreational marijuana dispensed or sold and then b) how do we go forward to allow for, in the zoning and bylaws to have to change to dovetail with this.”

Mayor Wilfried Vicktor said investigating how to implement legalization on a local level before provincial rules come out was ‘putting the cart before the horse’ and wasting staff resources. Vicktor said he has been approached by some ‘off colour element’ wanting to open a cannabis business.

“It’s fair to say that these are the people that if you get into a little tiff with them, you might not make the next council meeting,” he said, alluding to criminals who want to be involved in the sale of cannabis.

At the public hearing July 4, which Vicktor said was a ‘comparatively small turnout’, he said he had been approached by a few dozen people in favour of the bylaw change. In his view, the ‘majority of the public are happy with a temporary prohibition on this, because they want us to proceed appropriately.’

All those who spoke at the public hearing, except for one speaker opposed to his tax dollars going to regulating cannabis, spoke in favour of retail sales of cannabis in Hope. The support was for a variety of reasons including taking the cannabis out of the realm of organized crime, allowing medical marijuana to be more readily available for those suffering from pain and illness, and retail cannabis as a business opportunity for the town.

At the public hearing, several community members objected to the wording of the bylaw, especially the word ‘prohibit’. Some objected to implementing the bylaw as it created a repeal process, essentially the same process as this bylaw change involving two readings by council, a public hearing, a third reading and adoption.

Also not happy with the wording of the bylaw, Coun. Medlock said Monday he would support it if council could also begin the work to find out whether people in Hope want retail sales once legalization happens. He introduced a motion to discuss this first at a committee of the whole meeting, then at a public hearing in the fall.

Realistically, Medlock said, nothing would be in place for retail sales by the end of the year. A local election in October complicates the timeline as well.

Mayor Wilfried Vicktor said he had heard of a questionnaire circulated in Abbotsford, which could be a tool used to gauge the mood in Hope. He asked staffers to look into this.

As several councillors made clear during Monday’s meeting, they don’t want to miss the boat on any economic opportunities retail sales will bring. Coun. Donna Kropp said she didn’t want to dissuade or penalize people who want to open a business and want to do it right.

The change to bylaw 1428 will move forward to adoption at a future council meeting.

What do you think about retail sales of marijuana in Hope? Share your thoughts with us by emailing news@hopestandard.com or commenting below.  


Is there more to this story?


news@hopestandard.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

Isley Lemay, community member and worker at Canna Farms, said there are many places to get marijuana in Hope, ‘a lot not safe’, adding she supports the opening of a dispensary. She spoke at a July 4 public hearing on retail sales of cannabis. Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard

People from outside Hope attended the July 4 public hearing, including Adam Carmichael from Trees Dispensary. He shared best practices for dealing with theft and complaints of smell, as well as the imperative of having community support to open a dispensary. Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard

Avery Coates gave an impassioned speech at the July 4 public hearing, advocating on behalf of the medical marijuana users who are suffering and, in his view, need local access to their product. Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard

Just Posted

Update: Search called off for missing person in Jones Lake Area

Hope Search and Rescue crews re-started search at 6 a.m. this morning

Habitat for Humanity says it owes no money to former CEO

Upper Fraser Valley branch responds to wrongful dismissal lawsuit

UPDATED: Police call off search for body under Agassiz Rosedale Bridge

Swimmers reported discovering body two days ago

Garbage truck and van collide on 6 Ave.

No serious injuries in mid-day collision

A man around town: Trevor McDonald

If it’s musical or entertaining and in Chilliwack, Trevor McDonald’s probably had a hand in it

Here’s what you need to know about Day 2 at the BC Games

From equestrian to volleyball to swimming, all 18 events in full swing here in the Cowichan Valley

Okanagan wildfires have potential to become firestorms, says UBC expert

David Andison said to let smaller fires go, to create pockets in the landscape for new forests

From hot dog to not dog: stuffed toy prompts car break in

Victoria couple said dog toy had been in the backseat for 18 years without problems

VIDEO: Open water swimming from B.C. to Washington in 24 hours

The swim will take a full day, meaning Susan Simmons will be swimming in the black of night

ZONE 4: Heart surgery didn’t stop Liam Haysom’s journey to the BC Games

Coquitlam soccer player refused to be sidelined for long after treatment for heart condition

Cigarette packs with graphic images, blunt warnings are effective: focus groups

Warnings considered effective flag ailments smoking can cause, like colorectal and stomach cancers

Canada’s title hopes quashed at Rugby Sevens World Cup in San Francisco

On the men’s side, Canada was eliminated in the round of 16 as they were shut out by Argentina 28-0

‘We are doing the right thing:’ Protesters dig in at anti-pipeline camp

B.C. Supreme Court ruled in March that both the camp and a nearby watch house could remain in place

Astronaut drops in on Kraftwerk gig, plays duet from space

Alexander Gerst becomes an astronaut musician with live performance from International Space Station

Most Read