Council voted 4-3 Monday to effectively shutter the chances for Weeds Glass & Gifts to open a retail cannabis store at 7500 Donaldson Dr., the current location of the warming centre. With the decision, the Vancouver-based company now owns two buildings in Grand Forks but will not be operating any stores in town.
Grand Forks city bylaws state that a cannabis retail store cannot operate within 100 metres of a “community use” zone, such as James Donaldson Park. The prospective location is within 40 metres of the park’s perimeter.
The company’s other land holding at 3rd Street and Market Avenue downtown is currently being rented by a different cannabis company that is waiting for a business license approval.
“We’re obviously disappointed with the whole thing and that it turned out the way it did,” said Weeds representative Jim Kennedy.
“But you can’t force something on the community that community doesn’t want.”
Kennedy said that the company now may have an option to appeal Council’s decision but said that Weeds had not yet decided on whether it would pursue that option.
During debate before the July 15 vote, Coun. Chris Moslin suggested that denying Weeds the zoning variance to operate within 100 metres of a community use zone was “quite arbitrary and very naive.”
“There’s no way that we’re saving children from the influence of this new retail business, simply because of 64 metres,” he said.
Coun. Christine Thompson rebutted by saying that while on the previous council, the 100-metre rule was “well-vetted throughout the council.”
Mayor Brian Taylor, meanwhile, advocated that the 100-metre restriction on cannabis retail stores being close to “community use zones” such as James Donaldson Park ought to be entirely removed from the city’s bylaws, calling the rule an “overreach” and indicative of Grand Forks being a “non-friendly cannabis community.”