Regulating pot shops

Enderby city council has approved a bylaw regulating where marijuana dispensaries and related businesses can and cannot be situated, in the event the drug is approved for sale by the federal government.

“We are just trying to ensure there are rules in place so that if people show up and want to start a business, we can say 'ok, here are the rules',” said Mayor Greg McCune.

The mayor pointed to the number of pot shops that have sprung up in Vernon, West Kelowna, Victoria and Nanaimo due to a lack of regulation in those communities.

“We have guidelines for them to follow,” he said.

Currently, the City of Enderby denies business licences to marijuana shops and will do so as long as the drug remains illegal under the Criminal Code.

On Monday, council gave final reading to a bylaw that establishes boundaries for zones within the city and, importantly, regulates uses within those zones.

Under the bylaw, a marijuana business must:

  • demonstrate that the proposed use is lawful under all applicable provincial and federal statutes and regulations
  • obtain a municipal business license before any operation may begin

As well, no marijuana-related business shall be located within 100 meters of any residential zone, daycare facility, preschool, playground, community centre, school, public park, civic or religious institution or cater to individuals under the age of 18, the bylaw states.

“We're a small community where we don't want a business moving onto a street with ten houses and then the residents find traffic coming in from the left and right. We are just looking out for our community.”

At a separate meeting on Monday, Vernon city council Dalvir Nahal expressed her concern over the boom in pot shops in the city and the lack of regulation surrounding the marijuana businesses.

The federal government has said marijuana laws may be ready sometime next year.

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