Selena Wong of Vernon’s The Flower of Life Integrative Health company addresses council during the City of Vernon’s public hearing Monday into allowing temporary use permits for marijuana dispensaries in operation before Nov. 14, 2017. (Roger Knox/Morning Star)

Selena Wong of Vernon’s The Flower of Life Integrative Health company addresses council during the City of Vernon’s public hearing Monday into allowing temporary use permits for marijuana dispensaries in operation before Nov. 14, 2017. (Roger Knox/Morning Star)

City gives third reading to marijuana dispensary bylaw

Public hearing in Vernon draws more than 70 people

The City of Vernon, said Coun. Dalvir Nahal to the overflow crowd of more than 70 people who crammed into Vernon councilchambers Monday, has a responsibility to taxpayers, business owners and children to make sure what the city is doing inregards to marijuana dispensaries is being done.

The city held a public hearing Monday on a zoning text amendment bylaw that is not intended to close down dispensariesthat were in operation before Nov. 14, 2017. The bylaw is to bridge the process that will allow dispensaries to continue tooperate provided certain conditions are met.

The city would use a restrictive covenant on properties and temporary use permits until provincial and local zoningregulations are established.

Nahal, who suffers from Stage 4 breast cancer, and who admitted to using medical marijuana candies to ease pain in her bones, said Vernon has “way too many (marijuana) shops and nobody is regulating it.”

“I wonder how many there are that are in it for medicinal purposes,” said Nahal. “We still have a responsibility to taxpayersand to children of not getting their hands on something they shouldn’t be consuming. We’re trying to create a bylaw to stopmore shops from setting up until we hear from the federal and provincial governments.”

Legislation making cannabis legal is anticipated to be given the go-ahead by Ottawa on July 1, though Vernon Mayor AkbalMund pointed out that date hasn’t been confirmed.

Close to 20 people took to the microphone during the 90-minute public hearing, including Selena Wong and StephenSymons of Vernon-based The Flower of Life Integrative Health company in Vernon. Wong, speaking, she said, on behalf ofmedical patients and those in the industry who care about those patients, said dispensaries exist because Health Canada hasfailed to provide a service to those patients, and some dispensaries, like hers, are able to provide products Health Canadacan’t produce, which is why her business has survived in Vernon.

“I want council to consider the quality standards and practices of the dispensaries currently operating in this town,” saidWong. “Every dispensary has their own rules and regulations, and they’re the ones in charge of determining what standardsand quality of practices there will be in these types of outlets.”

Added Symons: “I understand the rationale, scope and scale and the supplement you submitted to state the municipality’sposition. I propose the city put together more dialogue between the city and its citizenry. I can’t really comment because the(restrictive) covenant hasn’t come forward, but the concept of limiting the scope and scale is something I encourage.”

Kevin Adams of Vernon’s Monashee Mountain Medicine, in operation since May 2016, sits on the board of the CanadianAssociation of Medical Cannabis Dispensaries, and owns four dispensaries throughout the Okanagan. He called Vernoncouncil “brave” for its bylaw proposal, but also said the city has some issues.

“You’re going to have to listen to your legal counsel but hopefully it doesn’t turn into that,” said Adams. “I’m willing to meet with you, to have you come into my store. I would personally like to give you a tour and talk to you about any product. Useme as a resource. You need to zone us, and I understand that and do like that. I praise you for what you’re doing, but as youmove forward please watch and take a look at what you do have in your city.”

Downtown Vernon Association executive director Susan Lehman said from an economic standpoint in relation to the numberof buyers and vendors in the city, the market, she said, will correct itself.

“We do have quality retailers and suppliers in town, and we have some of lesser quality,” said Lehman. “We have to rely onourselves as retailers in that market that we will choose quality. We’re going to have quality over quantity. We have to givetime for the market to adjust. I agree and the DVA agrees with what the city is doing here tonight.”

Coun. Catherine Lord said the city needs something in place to cover the period of time when regulations finally come outand municipalities see what can and can’t be done when its comes to marijuana.

“It’s good to listen to the viewpoints,” said Lord. “Most of us are particularly concerned with the medicinal aspect.”

Coun. Scott Anderson said marijuana legalization is a “huge topic,” but the specific Vernon bylaw will bridge the gapbetween now and the anticipated legalization date of July 1.

“After that, we’ll come up with set of bylaws that move this forward,” said Anderson. “no bylaw will solve everything. Thisbridge bylaw is one that satisfies as many people as possible.”

Council unanimously passed third reading of the bylaw amendment. Adoption is expected in about a month.

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

Just Posted

Twelve new curbside pickup parking spots are now in effect along 30th Avenue in downtown Vernon. (Downtown Vernon Association photo)
Downtown Vernon curbside pick up parking now in drive

12 locations along 30th Avenue intended to help retail and dining sectors amid COVID-19

Vernon Search and Rescue members assisted a groomer operator on the trails at SilverStar Mountain Resort Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. (VSAR photo)
Vernon Search and Rescue helps stranded groomer at Silver Star

Three members responded to the operator whose groomer experienced a mechanical issue Nov. 29

A woman wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 uses walking sticks while walking up a hill, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Interior Health reports 83 more COVID-19 infections overnight

46 cases are now associated with a COVID-19 community cluster in Revelstoke

An Enderby restaurant and pub has been shut down since Sunday afternoon, Nov. 29, 2020 as a precaution after a guest reportedly tested positive for COVID-19. (Howard Johnson photo)
Enderby pub shuts down after guest reportedly tests positive for COVID-19

The Howard Johnson hotel, restaurant and pub has been closed since Sunday afternoon, Nov. 29

Vernon taxpayers can expect a 2.55 per cent increase for 2021. (File photo)
Vernon scales back 2021 tax increase

Pause of infrastructure levy program reduces burden on taxpayers

A tongue-in-cheek message about wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 on a sign outside a church near Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection count climbs back up to 656

20 more people in hospital, active cases still rising

Brent Ross poses with his dog Jack who died over the weekend after asphyxiating on a ball. Ross hopes his experience serves as a cautionary tale to other dog owners. (Contributed)
Salmon Arm man warns others after dog dies from choking on a ball

Brent Ross grieving the sudden loss of Jack, a healthy, seven-year-old chocolate lab

Mayor Colin Basran at the announcement of the 2021 Tim Horton’s Brier to be hosted in Kelowna on Nov. 21. (Contributed)
Tim Hortons Brier not coming to Kelowna

The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted Curling Canada to move to hub model, similar to the NHL playoffs

Robert Gibson, born November 24, 2020 is in BC Children’s Hospital. Photo contributed
Princeton baby fights for his life, with parents at his side

A Go Fund Me campaign has been started to help family with expenses

Grapevine Optical was the victim of an early morning break and enter Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2020. (Crime Stoppers Okanagan / Facebook)
Collection of designer sunglasses stolen from South Okanagan eye-wear shop

Crime Stoppers is seeking the identity of two male suspects

By this time next year, the BC Green Pharmadeuticals cannabis growing facility in Princeton is expected to employ at least 150 people, according to the owner. (File photo)
Princeton cannabis plant thriving despite lawsuit and bad press, says owner

Company expects to hire 30 more employees in the next two months

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C. researchers launch study to test kids, young adults for COVID-19 antibodies

Kids and youth can often be asymptomatic carriers of the novel coronavirus

Most Read