The decision to increase the minimum space between marijuana dispensaries in the rezoning and licensing process is a way of the City of Victoria to regain control over who operates a business in the city. Victoria News file photo

EDITORIAL: City of Victoria taking back regulatory control with pot shop decision

Reaction to public outcry, change to rules paralells situation with liquor retail stores in 2000s

A decision to increase the minimum distance between marijuana dispensaries in Victoria, as part of the rezoning and business licensing process for such shops, was no doubt applauded by many.

It seems this creating of a larger buffer zone – from 200 to 400 metres between shops – at an earlier point in the process could have helped avoid the proliferation of such outlets, which sprung up in virtually every neighbourhood in very short order.

The city has been putting together temporary measures to deal with this matter since the federal Liberal government stated it would eventually be legalizing the sale of cannabis in this country.

The horse was let out of the barn with the City’s lax early stance and this is an attempt to assume control over who is allowed to do business, through regulatory measures. The fact very few of the more than 30 shops currently operating even have a business licence, is a slap in the face to merchants who faithfully make sure their licence is up to date and follow zoning rules.

Coun. Margaret Lucas, one of the councillors who brought forward the increased buffer zone motion after listening to concerns from neighbourhood associations and others, added clarity to the situation. Employed in the hospitality industry for some time, she experienced firsthand the change of heart by government during the whole private liquor store process.

Rules around the placement of such outlets, along with local municipal zoning issues, look far different today than when the province first began breaking B.C. Liquor Stores’ stranglehold on the selling of alcohol in the early 2000s. Most of those changes were a result of public and business feedback, Lucas noted.

Coun. Ben Isitt’s point that the number of shops should be based on market demand for such products also makes sense. But this is not cafés or meat markets, it’s the sale of products in which the key ingredient remains illegal, which understandably makes many people nervous.

While there remains no federal regulatory structure in place for cannabis sales, public and business feedback have helped Victoria be ahead of the curve when it comes to the future retailing in these products.

Just Posted

Langford loses bid to host Amazon HQ2

Mayor hopes to attract more tech jobs to city

Woodwynn Farms to be shut down and sold

The rehabilitation program at Woodwynn Farms is being shut down. According to… Continue reading

Pedestrian in hospital with non-life-threatening injuries after being struck in View Royal

Incident closed Island Highway for several hours Wednesday night

Tenants sought for Metchosin elementary school

Cushman Wakefield Ltd. Victoria will be responsible for leasing the space

Monster trucks invade Victoria

Traxxas Monster Truck Tour stops at Save-On Foods Memorial Centre this weekend

WestJet appeals lost bid to scrap harassment lawsuit

Airline argues judge was wrong to have dismissed the company’s application to strike the legal action

Can U.S. border guards search your phone? Yes, and here’s how

Secretary of homeland security explains a new policy that let’s border guards check phones

‘Beautiful writer’ Nancy Richler dies of cancer in Vancouver hospital

Montreal-born author spent most of her adult life in B.C. as a fiction writer and novelist

Jury convicts spear-wielding Duncan man in 2015 Ladysmith RV park murder

Trever George Meers used a handmade spear to stab Rayna Johnson at the Campers Corners RV Park

Students frustrated by UBCO response to harassment allegations

Students on the Kelowna campus were unaware of resources and worried about lack of communication

Opinion: Dare to be smarter

Just say no works for more than just substance abuse

‘Sing Me a Song’ about B.C. for a chance at $1,000 contest prize

Entries due by March 30 for lieutenant-governor’s British Columbia-themed competition

Facing reality of death, B.C. man learns real meaning of life

Even while preparing for the end, something inside Keven Drews won’t let him stop living

Most Read