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Wednesday, Sep 28, 2022
Mugglehead Magazine
Alternative investment news based in Vancouver, B.C.


Vernon councillors tighten pot shop rules, falsely call cannabis a ‘controlled substance’

City council sparred this week over how much regulation is appropriate for cannabis retailers

Vernon councillors tighten pot shop rules, falsely call cannabis a 'controlled substance'
Vernon's mayor says more proximity restrictions for cannabis stores in the downtown core are unnecessary. Photo by Richvernon via Wikimedia Commons

Pot shops should be treated differently than other businesses because cannabis is a controlled substance, reasoned Vernon city councillors at a meeting earlier this week.

At the meeting, they voted to implement a 500-metre buffer between cannabis retailers and limit the period of time from store approval to opening to 24 months.

Mayor Victor Cumming kicked off the discussion stating council should scrap the 500-metre rule for the downtown core, as the related business zones already limit the total number of pot shops to six.

“We don’t weigh in and say, ‘One jewelry store is enough,'” he said.

Why should the city regulate something the market has done a good job of on its own? Cumming asked, while noting the number of licensed stores that hadn’t yet opened.

Coun. Keri Gares said people ask her all the time: “What’s the difference? You allow all those coffee shops to be beside one another.”

“I will tell you that none are controlled substances,” she said, correctly.

“I can’t stress enough [cannabis] is a controlled substance. It is legal, but it is a controlled substance,” she continued, incorrectly.

Cannabis is not a controlled substance, a term that refers to materials listed under Canada’s Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. Pot was removed from that list when the Cannabis Act came into effect in 2018.

Cannabis is highly controlled. By virtue of its relatively nascent legal status, there are many strict rules governing its production, distribution and sale. But it’s not a controlled substance.

Mugglehead has reached out to Gares for comment.

Coun. Kelly Fehr explained how pot is less dangerous than liquor.

“Alcohol has higher death rates, health and policing costs,” he said. “We’ve talked to the RCMP and bylaw here. They have had no issues with pot shops whatsoever.”

Fehr argued against more regulations for pot shops.

To close the issue, councillors accepted a friendly amendment by Mayor Cumming to give approved shops 24 months to open instead of the originally proposed 12.

Earlier in January, Vernon cut fees for cannabis retailers in half.

Read more: Kelowna and Vernon to slash pot shop fees

Read more: Port Alberni seeks to snuff pot smells via nuisance bylaw


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