The City of Kamloops is going ahead with its marijuana bylaw discussed Tuesday night at a public hearing at the Sandman Centre.
Councillors voted 7-1 in favour of creating a new zoning definition for the retail sale of marijuana ahead of legalization on Canada Day 2018. In a second vote, a 5-3 decision, council is allowing the maximum fines for business license violations to jump up to $10,000 at the extreme.
“Landlords are going to be looked to having business licenses for renting spaces, and they’re supposed to be renting it to people who are obeying the law and having business licenses,” said Christian. “The fine regime has changed. It’s a range of fines now between $200 and $10,000 per business license bylaw offenses.”
Christian, however, said it would unlikely for the city to fine a business the maximum amount immediately.
“It’s not a money grab from the perspective of the City of Kamloops,” he noted. “I think our staff use a system of progressive enforcement, and what we’re trying to do is just get people’s behaviour to change and obey the law.”
There was vocal opposition Tuesday night to the city’s proposed bylaw to rezone local marijuana dispensaries.
“It feels very abrupt, it feels very violent, it feels like there could’ve been a better way to go about this,” said Andrew Quickfall, who works at one of the local dispensaries.
Many who spoke are marijuana users or work in the field, expressing concern about these dispensaries disappearing, even with legalization in July.
“The current license production scheme is limited in that it does not provide access to the most vulnerable individuals in our city, so there’s an absolute need for dispensaries.”
Currently, medical marijuana users must purchase it through the federal government, and not through local dispensaries. Wayne Street has 40 years experience with medical marijuana, including the last four years with cancer.