Vernon council has had another debate on the legalization of marijuana — this time about whether municipalities should have the right to ban the sale of the drug, if they want, once it becomes legal across Canada.
Councillor Scott Anderson made a motion to ask the province for that type of community ban, even though he says, he’s not against pot dispensaries.
“I think that municipalities should have that jurisdiction. We’re the ones most affected, we’re the ones who have to pay the price and reap the benefits. I think we should have that jurisdiction,” Anderson told Beach Radio News.
Anderson says it’s a matter of principal.
“I am not trying to close down marijuana dispensaries. What I want is for the city to retain the jurisdiction — the ability — in the future; that they should be the ones to say if marijuana is sold here or not.”
Anderson’s motion failed to get enough support, falling in a 4-2 vote.
Councillor Dalvir Nahal supported Anderson’s motion to write the province on the issue.
“I feel that municipalities should have that jurisdiction to close some down. As I’ve stated before, I’m not against them, but I feel like we have way too many in this small community, so it would have been nice to have that option,” says Nahal.
However, four other council members like Juliette Cunningham opposed the motion.
Cunningham says a majority of Canadians support legalizing cannabis, and it doesn’t make sense to allow 4 members of council to decide if it’s allowed in the city or not.
Councilor Bob Spiers says the city can control where the operations are located through zoning, and through business licenses.
“We could say that we will not allow a marijuana retail operation using our zoning laws. Whether that would pass within the city, who knows? But we’ve got adequate control, as far as I’m concerned,” Spiers tells Beach Radio.
Meantime, council has passed a motion, to seek 50% of the tax revenues from pot, that the BC government gets.