The issue of marijuana dispensaries is back before Penticton city council on July 4. File photo

Penticton city council talking pot again

Two dispensaries given temporary permits in December are asking for extensions

The issue of cannabis dispensaries is going to be back before Penticton city council at their July 4 meeting.

City staff are recommending council deny extensions to the two temporary use permits issued in December 2016 to Okanagan Cannabinoid Therapy on Westminster Avenue and Green Essence on Martin Street.

More: Penticton gives the nod to marijuana dispensaries

According to planning manager Blake Laven’s report, the two businesses “have been operating relatively without incident for the past six months.” But the report goes on to detail how the situation has changed since the TUPs were issued in December, including a March letter to both businesses warning of the ramifications of selling marijuana, in contravention of the controlled drugs and substances act, or the medical cannabis regulations.

City council and staff spent more than half a year debating the issue of marijuana dispensaries, and eventually settled on temporary use permits as a solution until the federal government moved ahead on promised legalization legislation. Only two of seven applicants were granted permits, though a third, Herbal Greens, continues to operate in contravention.

More: Penticton heading to court to close marijuana dispensary

The picture regarding legalization of marijuana at the federal level has also cleared up, and though July 2018 is the goal for legalization, Laven’s report says that is unlikely.

“The legal opinion the city obtained with regard to this issue suggest that the deadline is ‘overly optimistic,’” reads the report.

B.C. courts have also clarified laws around cannabis dispensaries and business licences. In an Abbotsford case, a justice ruled the city had jurisdiction to refuse a business licence on the basis of the dispensary not being lawful.

Penticton has also taken steps to limit any potential dispensaries, with a zoning bylaw defining cannabis dispensary, and forbidding them in any zone. With that in place, even after legalization, any dispensary wishing to operate in the city would have to request a zoning amendment, triggering public consultation and neighbourhood notification.

“Staff can now confidently say that the dispensaries are in direct conflict with federal enactment and thus do not meet the guidelines for temporary use permit approval,” said Laven in the report. Though the two businesses given TUPs in December have followed all the conditions, the report says given the court decisions, liability and possible exposure, council should not extend the permits.

More: Pot charges still being laid

“Further extending the permits would also legitimize the illegal distribution of cannabis contrary to federal criminal law. Staff consider this contrary to the best interests of the city,” the report concludes. It also notes the city will be liable if someone were harmed by cannabis purchased at a dispensary licensed by the city.

The city has collected over $33,000 in fines from non-compliant businesses and is in the process of collecting about $30,000 more. Added to that is $5,000 in business licence fees from the two permitted dispensaries and $10,000 more, should the permits be extended.

To date, the city has spent over $10,000 in legal fees and staff labour dealing with the marijuana dispensary issue.

Just Posted

Man in custody linked to Silver Creek property search

Police are not saying how this search is related to Wayne Curtis Sagmoen’s current criminal charges

Police officer hit by car, stabbed in Edmonton attack back on job

Const. Mike Chernyk, 48, returned to work Thursday

Day 2 of RCMP search at Silver Creek residence

Police use backhoe in ongoing search effort at residential/agricultural Salmon River Road property

Residents pay tribute to city’s homeless

He was articulate and well-spoken. He was great at self-reflection. He liked watching the Canucks. And more often than not, he lived at the Howard House Men’s Shelter.

Controlled burns no cause for concern

Annual clean-up by forestry companies includes burning debris from logging activity

Mixing up local talent and cocktails

The annual Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery Mixoff takes place in Kelowna in November

Berry disappointed: Bear tries to eat fake fruit on woman’s door wreath

A Winnipeg woman has taken her berry-embellished wreath down, after a hungry bear visited her porch

Symphony trumpets in new season

Kamloops Symphony makes first appearance of the 2017-18 season in Salmon Arm

Column: Back to the land in the 21st century

By Jim Cooperman, Observer columnist There is a slowly growing movement back… Continue reading

Column: Sockeye fisheries hinder recovery

While driving to the Coast a few weeks ago, the last week… Continue reading

Friends & Neighbours: Sewing their patriotism

By Leah Blain, Observer columnist The red walls were the perfect background.… Continue reading

Auntie Says: Don’t bring your dope to my house

Don’t judge me and I won’t judge you, but if you try and smoke at my house, you’ll be asked to leave

B.C. search groups mobilize for missing mushroom picker

Searchers from across the province look for Frances Brown who has been missing since Oct. 14.

Search for missing B.C. man a race against winter weather

David Jeff of Williams Lake was last seen in Kamloops during the chaotic wildfire evacuations

Most Read