City of Richmond pushes to ban marijuana dispensaries

Jan 18 2017, 8:02 pm

Richmond city councillors are looking to place a ban on storefront marijuana sales despite the federal government’s plan to legalize the drug.

On Monday, Richmond city council reviewed a proposal to amend a zoning bylaw aiming to ban marijuana dispensaries in the municipality

“We discovered that our bylaws were not really ready for the changes coming very soon in the spring of 2017 from the federal government,” Richmond councillor Carol Day told Daily Hive.

“We currently have a medical marijuana operation (which is like) a lab or warehouse operation. And we have one of those right now that we have approved. It is not something that would be open to the public,” said Day.

The federal government has committed to introducing legalization and regulation of marijuana in the spring of 2017.

Currently, Day says that Richmond is not ready for storefront operations because “there are no federal laws that support it.”

In Vancouver, a business licence is required in order for marijuana dispensaries to operate. Dispensaries must be in commercial zones, at least 300 m from schools, community centres, neighbourhood houses and other pot shops.

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But Day is not looking to Vancouver as an example when it comes to marijuana shops.

When you really look at what Vancouver is doing, they got all of these marijuana stores but technically they are still illegal if you look at what the federal laws are. We are not prepared to allow for storefront marijuana operations at this time because there are not federal laws that support it,” said Day. 

The City of Richmond is set to vote on the recommendation next week.