(Black Press file photo)

View Royal looking for public input on recreational cannabis

Mayor says prohibitive bylaws are temporary

The Town of View Royal is looking for public feedback on recreational cannabis use.

Last week, the town held a public meeting to hear from residents about their thoughts and concerns regarding the sale and use of recreational cannabis but View Royal Mayor David Screech said the turnout was “mediocre.”

“We were thinking there would be a fair bit of interest about how the Town was going to regulate cannabis stores and the growing of it,” Screech said. “I was hoping we would hear more from the community.”

Screech said based on comments from people who did show up at the meeting, there wasn’t an overarching concern over cannabis that was relayed to council.

RELATED: Cannabis sales up 25% in November as overall retail sales fall 0.9%

View Royal has prohibited the production, distribution, sale and home growing of recreational cannabis products as a precautionary measure, according to Screech. He said the town wanted to wait and see how the province and federal government handled cannabis regulation as well as wait to hear from residents about their thoughts.

“It’s all part of the process,” Screech said. “We’re going to look at the bylaws again and decide whether or not we will allow retail shops in View Royal.”

Screech said the current bylaws are not permanent but act as placeholders until council can come up with new ones. He said council is open to changing the bylaws and looking at different recreational cannabis options for the town but needs feeback from residents and the province first.

“We want to see clearly the rules and regulations, how the province is going to enforce the rules … we want it all to be very clear and we want to hear from the community on what they want to do,” Screech said.

RELATED: RCMP bust illegal B.C. cannabis lab

Screech said he thinks it would make sense for West Shore municipalities to have uniform bylaws, rather than different ones, since they share the same police force.

He also believes municipalities should not have to use any of their own money when it comes to cannabis regulation.

“The federal and provincial governments are collecting the tax revenue, they’ve made no attempts to share it with us which we’ve asked for,” Screech said. “Until they come up with some sort of an equitable sharing arrangement I don’t see why there should be any cost to local government.”

Right now, Screech said the province is “behind the eightball” when it comes to regulation and he said that is concerning to him.

“I think there’s a lot of issues that the province needs to sort out before we’re going to be prepared to change our bylaws,” Screech said.

shalu.mehta@goldstreamgazette.com


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