Victoria Looks for Public Feedback on Dispensaries

The City of Victoria is looking for public feedback on its proposed dispensary licensing regulations.

Earlier this week, the city released its draft report on cannabis dispensaries, now officials want to hear from citizens before moving forward with the regulations.

City council also wants direction from the federal government, where politicians are beginning the process of marijuana legalization.

Mayor Lisa Helps said she’s reluctantly in favour of the city regulating dispensaries, even though cannabis is a federal issue. Helps said she doesn’t want a scenario where dispensaries are grandfathered into legality because the city was inactive on dealing with them before federal law changed.

“The city needs to have control over these land uses. It’s within our purview. I don’t want 30 rezoning applications coming at once, but I strongly feel that this should be regulated not only through business licensing but also through zoning,” Helps said.

Councillor Marianne Alto said the city’s work could be wasted without an idea of what regulations will come down from higher levels of government.

Alto called the proposed rules “an enforcement black hole” that don’t differentiate between profit and non-profit dispensaries or allow the sale of edible cannabis products.

The city is trying to control the surge of dispensaries opening without a license. Within the last 18 months, the number of marijuana-related businesses in Victoria jumped from four to 23, with four more planning to open soon.