Marijuana shops high on municipal agenda

Even small towns struggle with unregulated pot shops as Justin Trudeau government holds hearings on legalization

Storefront marijuana operations continue to open in B.C. communities

B.C. communities struggling to deal with unregulated marijuana sales are looking for help, or a piece of the action as growers and sellers compete for a share of the expanding legal market.

Pot problems are high on the agenda for the annual Union of B.C. Municipalities convention in September, as local governments continue to deal with fire hazards and retail outlets selling untested marijuana products in defiance of federal and local laws.

Nelson and Duncan councils are calling on the provincial and federal governments to share tax revenue with local governments, when the Justin Trudeau government puts its plan to legalize recreational marijuana sales next year.

Nelson also wants a say in the legalization process, as a federal-provincial task force tours the country to hear from public health, police and substance abuse experts.

For now, B.C. is the Wild West of pot production. Communities that try to regulate quasi-medical dispensaries find their tickets and orders ignored as shops proliferate in a legal vacuum.

Langley fire officials determined this week that a recent house fire was caused by an explosion in a marijuana “extraction lab” using butane as a solvent. The process is used to make “honey oil” and “shatter,” a crystal concentrate that is one of the most potent marijuana preparations. Oils and concentrates are sold in some dispensaries and used in baked goods.

Nelson recently saw its eighth pot store open without a business licence, as it considers regulations adopted in Kimberly and Vancouver. Sooke has three dispensaries, as the issue moves to smaller communities.

In the Okanagan, communities are taking a harder line. Penticton has cancelled the business licences of medical marijuana shops, despite their arguments that they are “compassion clubs” supplying people with legally recognized medical uses.

Vernon council voted down a proposal to develop its own bylaw regulating dispensaries, as Victoria and other communities are doing. A staff report advised councillors that business licences have not been issued because storefront sales remain illegal in Canada.

 

Just Posted

Kootenay fires grow — more evacuation alerts

Syringa fire prompts evacuation alerts plus HWY 3 closure and U.S. fire crosses into B.C.

‘Beauty amongst such tragedy:’ B.C. photographer captures nature’s trifecta

David Luggi’s photo from a beach in Fraser Lake shows Shovel Lake wildfire, Big Dipper and an aurora

Castlegar bridge designed by architect of collapsed Italian bridge

Riccardo Morandi designed the Kinnaird Bridge, which is part of Highway 3.

UPDATE: Fire forces closures and delays on Highway 3 at Kootenay Pass

Motorists should detour using Kootenay Lake ferry

Evacuation alert issued for City of Kimberley

Three hours after an evacuation order was issued for the St. Mary Valley, an evacuation alert was issued for the nearby community of Kimberley.

‘We will not forget:’ Thousands attend funeral fallen Fredericton officers

Hundreds of officials marched in the parade, which included massed band, several police motorcycles

Lions give up late TD in 24-23 loss to Argos

B.C. falls to 3-5, fumbling away last-minute chance in Toronto

Eagle tree cut down legally a 1st for B.C. city

Planned eagle preserve ‘a first for City of Surrey’

Smoky skies like a disappearing act for sights, monuments around B.C.

Haze expected to last the next several days, Environment Canada said

Smoke scraps Nelson’s MS Bike Challenge

The annual fundraising event cancelled its cycling Saturday because of poor air quality

Canadians react to death of former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan at age 80

Nobel Peace Prize-winning former UN leader died early Saturday following a short illness

44 drownings so far this year in B.C.

Lifesaving Society urging caution to prevent deaths while on lakes, oceans and in pools

Some of B.C.’s air quality levels worse than Jodhpur, India

Okanagan, northern B.C. seeing some of the worst air quality globally

Most Read