Nelson’s marijuana dispensary count has skyrocketed to at least eight — now that the Green Room Society has opened up next door to El Taco on Victoria St — despite the fact they’re currently illegal.
The latest addition to the local cannabis industry created little or no fanfare when it opened this summer. It’s located across the street from the mural recently painted by Burning Man artist Shrine On, and within throwing distance of eateries such as Thor’s Pizzeria and Smokewood BBQ — a proximity that residents are sure to take full advantage of.
Mayor Deb Kozak has expressed interest in funnelling marijuana funds into the community. During a recent meeting of the Union of British Columbia Municipalities, she said the booming market could be a financial boon.
“That money could be well used in serving communities,” she said, before putting forward a resolution that will be debated at a meeting in September. It urges her fellow politicians to petition Ottawa for a share of the revenues realized from the legalization and regulation of marijuana.
The city isn’t currently granting business licenses to these operations, though a number of them are collecting sales tax. City manager Kevin Cormack previously told the Star that though Nelson is looking at the examples of Vancouver and Kimberley for guidance on how to proceed, they’re waiting for the federal government to move forward with legalization before acting.
According to Nelson’s manager of development services Pam Mierau the city is “in the process of amending the business licence bylaw to allow council the ability to better regulate the sale of medical marijuana. Given the uncertainty around what the federal government is going to do, it’s a bit unclear what approach municipalities should take.”
The eight dispensaries the Star is aware of are currently clustered primarily on Front St. and Baker St. MP Wayne Stetski has criticized the government for not moving faster and putting local entrepreneurs in uncomfortable positions.
“This is putting both entrepreneurs and the public into a state of confusion,” he said.
“This whole thing is in total chaos. Marijuana needs to be decriminalized now, and we as the NDP are proposing that those who have been jailed for simple possession should have their records expunged.”