Recreational marijuana will be legal in Canada on Oct. 17. (Pixabay)

Recreational marijuana will be legal in Canada on Oct. 17. (Pixabay)

B.C. city moves to ban all retail marijiuana sales

New bylaw to public hearing on Oct. 2 in Pitt Meadows.

Marijuana legalization is coming to Canada on Oct. 17, but it won’t be legally sold in Pitt Meadows.

City council has a bylaw in process that will ban retail marijuana outlets from the city.

The bylaw received first and second readings on Tuesday night at the regular meeting of council, and is scheduled to go to public hearing on Oct. 2.

Coun. Bill Dingwall, who is a race for mayor against incumbent John Becker, said he would not be opposed to a government marijuana outlet in the city, run by the B.C. Liquor Distribution Branch.

“I’m not opposed to a government-run retail outlet, and I’m looking forward to hearing from our citizens in the public hearing coming up on that,” said Dingwall. “The federal government legalized marijuana. There is no prohibition now in Canada, and no criminality attached to it.

He said a government-run retail outlet provides quality control of the product, security and checking the age of buyers. He said convenience is a legitimate objective, and his neighbours used medical marijuana during cancer treatment.

“If everyone in the Lower Mainland banned retail sales, that flies in the face of the federal government and the decision the federal government made with respect to marijuana,” said Dingwall.

“A big one from me is it keeps organized crime out. That’s really important,” added the retired RCMP officer.

Dingwall said he would like to hear from citizens about that issue.

Becker said the city should move slowly on the issue.

“I’m in no rush to look at retail cannabis. Maple Ridge is going to be moving on that very quickly. Maple Ridge is 10 minutes away,” said Becker.

“There are lots of things that are legal that we decide as a community we don’t want in our community – pawns shops, payday loans and cannabis dispensaries,” added Becker. “It is no accident that we do not have any cannabis dispensaries in Pitt Meadows.

“I am happy to let other communities make all the mistakes for the next 18 to 24 months,” said Becker. “Then if we want to go down that road, fine, we can pick some best practices.”

The new bylaw is to “regulate the production, processing, drying, storing, packaging, and distribution only of cannabis within the Agricultural Land Reserve and to prohibit the production, processing, drying, storing, packaging, distribution, and retail sales of cannabis in all other areas of the city.”

The staff report notes cannabis production could take place in the ALR in Pitt Meadows in an open field, in new structures that have a soil base, or in existing greenhouses. It notes there are 17 greenhouses in the city that could be converted to cannabis production.

The bylaws provide for criminal record checks, unscheduled inspections by the city, requirements for odour control, and the annual business licence fee for cannabis production will be $5,000.

Coun. Mike Stark of the large licence fee: “Does that fairly represent the cost to the city of administering that licence?”

Lisa Grant, manager of community development, responded that it is consistent with fees in Abbotsford and Langley Township, to recover costs for enforcement, inspections and police time.

Coun. Janis Elkerton noted that while the provincial and federal governments have agreed to split marijuana tax revenues 75-25 per cent respectively, municipalities have not been cut in on the deal.

“Municipalities get nothing,” said Elkerton. “We’re left with the enforcement issues and ongoing problems with this.”

She said the city should add its voice to the municipal lobby for a share of funding.

Dingwall supported all of the regulations concerning production on farmland.

Becker said the Agricultural Land Commission has five enforcement officers for all of B.C.

“So the chances of us having an effective enforcement branch here – I think we have to assume it will be zero,” said Becker.

“I spoke to a lot of mayors at the mayor’s caucus at UBCM [Union of B.C. Municipalities convention] and not one of them were in any way satisfied with the Health Canada inspection and enforcement process for the existing medical marijuana producers,” he added. “So as a community, we can have zero faith in Health Canada to protect our community about the consequences of cannabis.”

Elkerton noted there have been warnings the U.S. may ban people involved in the marijuana industry from traveling to the U.S., where it is still considered a controlled substance by the federal government.

Gee, and I’d be wondering if councillors who supported a store here in Pitt Meadows would be banned from traveling because they’re promoting the industry,” asked Elkerton.

“I don’t think we need to go down that path,” said Becker.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Staff at Artemis Place Secondary were shocked to find that one of the student-built greenhouses on the campus was stolen overnight on Jan. 11. (Artemis Place Society/Facebook)
Saanich school hopes to catch greenhouse thief red-handed

Student-built greenhouses stolen from Artemis Place Secondary on Jan. 11

File
Forty-two residential properties in Oak Bay were assessed the speculation and vacancy tax in 2019 for a total of $693,000. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
74 Oak Bay property owners paid $693,000 in spec tax

42 properties were assessed with the SVT in 2019

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada said a lack of experienced crew members and the inability to detect navigational errors is what led to a Sooke search and rescue boat running aground in February 2019. (Twitter / @VicJRCC_CCCOS)
TSB: Sooke search and rescue boat crash caused by ‘misinterpretation of navigational information’

Crew members were lacking experience and unable to detect navigational errors

A woman wears a face mask and shield to curb the spread of COVID-19 while walking in North Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday, January 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
536 COVID cases, 7 deaths reported as B.C. find its first case of South African variant

Henry said 69,746 people have received their first dose of the COVID vaccine.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials says it will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

(Black Press Media file photo)
From arts to environment, nominate your West Shore hero

Nominations for the Goldstream Gazette’s Local Hero awards are open to Jan. 15

Letisha Reimer died Nov. 1, 2016 after being stabbed at Abbotsford Senior Secondary.
No evidence that killer was in ‘psychotic state’ during Abbotsford school stabbing: Crown

Second day of closing arguments at ‘not criminally responsible’ hearing for Gabriel Klein

Screenshot from video.
2 students arrested in assault of transgender girl at Lower Mainland school

Mother says daughter was targeted because of how she identifies

Luke Marston works on the seawolf mask for Canucks goalie Braden Holtby. (Mike Wavrecan photo)
B.C. Coast Salish artist designs new mask for Canucks goalie

Braden Holtby’s new mask features artwork by Luke Marston inspired by the legend of the seawolf

Kamloops-South Thompson MLA Todd Stone questions the NDP government in the B.C. legislature, Feb. 25, 2020. (Hansard TV)
Todd Stone says he’s not running for B.C. Liberal leadership

Kamloops MLA was widely viewed as a front-runner

Most Read