Article by Bill Cleverley, Times Colonist
Victoria’s new marijuana retailing regulations coming into effect this month do not allow people to consume marijuana on site, Mayor Lisa Helps is stressing.
“To be very clear, these bylaws are meant to make sure that people have access to their medicine. They are not meant to enable recreational consumption,” Helps said.
“We expect that there will not be consumption of cannabis at any of the places that are going to be open as a result of this new licensing regime.”
Helps’s comments came after a marathon public hearing in which councillors were praised for their approach to marijuana retail operations, but at the same time were urged to allow places where people can consume pot and to not force retailers to close by 8 p.m.
Ashley Abraham, owner of the Green Ceiling vapour lounge, said in two years of working at a “compassion club,” she saw reasons to allow on-site consumption by medicinal users who are unable to do so at home due to factors such as rental agreements or having spouses and children in the home.
One speaker said that as a teenager, he used to be asked on Victoria streets if he wanted to buy pot. With the advent of dispensaries, that doesn’t happen anymore, he said.
“Dispensaries have cleaned up the dealers on the street, so why not let the lounges clean up the users on the street while at the same time creating jobs and contributing taxes?” he asked.