Vernon council is one step away from giving final approval to a plan that will allow marijuana dispensaries to operate in the city.
Council has given third reading to a bylaw that would require the existing shops to have a temporary use permit, a business license, and be subject to city inspections.
The permits would be a bridge until federal laws take effect this summer, and only dispensaries open before Nov. 14, 2017 would be eligible to get one, meaning no new ones.
The city currently has about a dozen of the so-called pot shops.
At a public hearing on the issue Monday night, resident Norman Belanger — who uses pot for chronic pain — says some of the current shops are not legitimate.
“It’s a joke, a farce. Literally some of the information you receive is wrong. So now I only go to two places in town because I am tired of receiving misleading information,”said Belanger.
The public hearing packed council chambers with over 100 people on hand, and about 20 people making comments.
A former Vernon mayor was among those giving input.
Wayne Lippert says it’s an issue his council dealt with years ago, due to the emergence of medical marijuana.
Lippert says zoning was the most effective way to deal with it.
“I applaud you for taking these steps, but we have been here before. We have done it and it cost us virtually very little money, if any, for staff to regulate.”
Most speakers were supportive of the role dispensaries play for medical users, but also that not all of the shops here are good quality.
Selena Wong works at a dispensary, and would like to see quality control on the current outlets.
“Every dispensary has their own rules and regulations, and they’re the ones that are in charge of determining what quality standards and practices are going to be present in these different types of outlets.”
Early childhood educator Delphine Barrillo was concerned about the rights of people who don’t use pot, especially children.
“I think we need to look at — whether it’s medicinal or recreational use — which I don’t oppose, but we have to look at how it’s being used and where it’s being used, and the people that don’t want to be around the second hand aspect of it.”