Nelson pot dispensaries have been conspicuously silent during the community feedback period on a newly proposed bylaw.

Nelson council debates dispensary bylaw

Minimal community feedback received, dispensary owners silent on issues.

They didn’t hear from a single dispensary owner.

By the time Nelson city council met on Monday to discuss their new pot dispensary bylaw, they had received correspondence from a mere seven people. This despite the fact over a hundred angry residents showed up to the last public meeting on the topic.

The feedback period on the proposed bylaw closes today and council will further debate it before voting on Feb. 6.

“I was surprised,” Mayor Deb Kozak told the Star.

“I think maybe people are feeling a little more relaxed. Perhaps now that we’ve had this discussion we’ll receive more feedback.”

Despite the lack of community feedback, the council had a lively debate on the details of the bylaw, touching on surveillance, sandwich boards, grandfathering and a variety of other nuances.

The proposed bylaw is attached below.

Councillor Michael Dailly was acting mayor during the discussions.

One issue was whether the wording around what exactly qualifies as a dispensary was too vague.

“We have a head shop now on Baker St. which I would say advocates and promotes the selling of paraphernalia, would that now require a license under this bylaw? We have a variety of stores that sell bongs, etc., would they require a licence?” Dailly asked.

“I’m concerned this is too broad, and we need to stay with the product.”

The debate was dominated by Kozak and Councillor Anna Purcell, with the latter expressing concern that “we’re getting in the way of regular business people who are just trying to start a business.”

She doubts there’s much crime or danger associated with their establishments.

“I would like to hear from our police chief around what the criminality is like around our current dispensaries,” Purcell said, expressing skepticism that security is really an issue in a small town like Nelson.

But Kozak disagreed.

“I don’t think we need to wait for the police chief, I think we can move forward with making sure people are securing their product, because it’s a very desirable product for some folks. We don’t need the police chief to come give a full report.”

One thing they decided to roll back was the 24-hour video surveillance proposed by the bylaw, which they said was cost-prohibitive and could only be installed by one company in town. They ultimately decided alarm systems without cameras would suffice.

Councillors discussed the distances between the current dispensaries, and their proximity to facilities such as the Nelson and District Community Complex.

According to the bylaw, three of the dispensaries could remain where they are while the three others would require variances.

“The biggest point of panic is around the penalties,” said Purcell, making a point to establish that the $10,000 fines listed are for “egregious offences” and are a routine part of city bylaws.

“Hopefully people’s concerns will be assuaged by the fact it’s just a regular part of our bylaws.”

Councillor Robin Cherbo thinks the $5,000 business licence is appropriate.

“They make substantial money and they should have no problem paying that.”

As far as grandfathering the current locations, Kozak said that’s an unnecessary move.

“At this point I don’t think it’s necessary to grandfather anybody. I think what people can be rest assured of is that there’s been no action taken until this point.”



2017 Draft Medical Cannabis Business Licence Bylaw

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

Just Posted

Jumbo Valley to be protected, ending decades-long dispute over proposed ski resort

Development rights permanently retired for site of proposed year-round ski resort west of Invermere

Nelson Leafs lose to Dynamiters 4-3 in overtime

The game got off to a bizarre start early in the first period

On the job hunt with Nelson’s Make A Change Canada

The employment charity is organizing next week’s Kootenay Patricks, Montreal Canadiens game

FedEx distribution centre coming to Castlegar

Development permit for ground facility before council next week.

Heart, minds, and 100 years of the Nelson library

Past and future collide this year at the Nelson library, and it all kicks off this weekend

Kids across Canada more at risk of hospitalization from flu this season: doctor

Dr. Theresa Tam said influenza B does not usually peak until February or later

Closed mills, housing surge support a positive forecast for lumber industries

B.C. lumber producers have closed mills accounting for 18% of province’s capacity, RBC report says

Good Samaritan pays part of rent for B.C. woman facing eviction in can-collecting dispute

Zora Hlevnjak, 76, supplements her pension by collecting cans and receiving public donations

Kelowna’s ‘Baby Mary’ finds biological parents after more than 30 years

Geneologist and DNA test helped her connect with her biological parents

Kelowna hotel to award couples for baby-making with Nooner deal

The deal includes a free stay every Valentine’s Day for the next 18 years

‘Scariest boat ride of my life’: Passengers trapped by ice on rocky B.C. ferry sailing

The Nimpkish docked in Bella Coola on Jan.12 coated in a thick layer of ice

B.C. pair ordered to pay $55,000 for oil tank discovered four years after selling home

Judge says defendants breached contract, despite being unaware of tank until basement flooded

Canada to give $25,000 to families of each Canadian who died in Iran plane crash

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also made it clear that Canada still expects Iran to compensate victims

Oil and gas industry applauds top court’s dismissal of B.C.’s Trans Mountain case

The high court’s ruling Thursday removes one of the remaining obstacles for the project

Most Read