It appears, for the time being, Nanaimo will remain the Wild West when it comes to marijuana dispensaries.
The city has seen an explosion in storefront dispensaries, budding from two to 12 in 2015 alone, according to Nelda Richardson, the City of Nanaimo’s manager of business licencing. Richardson said the number fluctuates around 20 right now.
In December 2015, Council asked staff for a report on options for possibly regulating or licencing the burgeoning industry. “We haven’t been able to get that report in front of Council,” Richardson said.
“Until we do that, they’re not going to have the ability to provide any direction,” she said. “We are having challenges with some of the dispensaries that are not necessarily following their own guidelines and rules they have for themselves, while other ones are generally conscientious of their surroundings…where they’re located.”
Richardson said the lack of direction from the federal government has “created potential for some conflict.” She said many of the newer operations coming to town have an attitude the City should embrace the concept of storefront pot sales because of the promise of legalization.
“Our hands are tied ultimately because it’s currently still illegal,” she said. Richardson is hopeful the staff report will be presented to Council in late April or early May.