Article by Maryse Zeidler, CBC News
Move over, cannabis dispensaries: pop-up pot stalls are the latest trend turning heads in Vancouver.
At city hall this week, NPA Coun. Melissa DeGenova called on staff to update councillors on the situation at Robson Square, where vendors openly selling cannabis have been setting up tents and tables with their products.
On any given day, there are a handful to a few dozen cannabis vendors set up on the plaza in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery.
DeGeneva says families who find the stalls distasteful in a public space have contacted her to complain.
“It’s disheartening to them to see these tables set up, bombarding them,” she said.
Marijuana legalization isn’t set to arrive in Canada until July 1, but in 2015 Vancouver became the first city in Canada to regulate and license dispensaries.
The stores pay the city up to $30,000 for the privilege to sell pot. And DeGenova says the stalls at Robson Square aren’t fair to those who have paid for the licence.
“If a small retailer of a small liquor store opened up a stand in the middle of Robson Square and was profiting but not paying for a business licence, I think people would have just as large a problem with it,” DeGenova said.
‘More of a protest than it is a business’
Even licensed businesses aren’t allowed to sell edible products. That’s what irks cannabis vendor Neil Magnuson the most.
Magnuson has been selling edibles and other products at his stall at Robson Square for about two weeks. He said he sells about $600 per day worth of product, and personally makes about $150.
“It’s way more of a protest than it is a business,” he said. “I think that the regulations for dispensaries in Vancouver are completely unjustified, unfair, over-broad and very discriminatory and they’re hurting people.”