Weed may be legalized but a city zoning policy prohibits cannabis stores from setting up shop in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside and Coun. Rebecca Bligh want this to change.
Bligh, a Non-Partisan Association councillor, has put forward a motion asking the city to consider amending a zoning bylaw and allow for retail stores selling low cost cannabis. According to Bligh, the bylaw was established in 2015 before the opioid crisis peaked in B.C. and should be amended to allow low-cost cannabis to help people struggling with opioid addiction.
Bligh told Stephen Quinn the host of CBC’s The Early Edition that research done since 2015 shows early evidence that cannabis is helping people stay off “more dangerous drugs, including alcohol” and she wants affordable cannabis made available to the most vulnerable population of Vancouverites on the Downtown Eastside.
The bylaw does not allow cannabis stores to legally operate in the area — which extends from Richards Street to Clark Drive — except for four approved locations on or near Hastings Street, the main artery, which are eligible for a provincial licence.