Osoyoos boasts of having ‘Canada’s warmest welcome,’ but not when it comes to marijuana retail shops. Instead those may continue getting a cold reception as the town considers passing a bylaw that would ban marijuana operations.
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A the last council meeting, mayor and council were split on the proposal. But in a 3-2 vote, they approved the initial readings of the bylaw.
“If this bylaw gets passed, I don’t think it is incredibly harmful, I just don’t personally think it is necessary,” said councillor Mike Campol, who voted against.
“We have the right to refuse business licenses and the RCMP are, and have been, doing a great job with dealing with what we’ve been faced now with dispensaries trying to open here.”
The town said there’s been growing business interests from marijuana dispensary owners. So it sought legal counsel, which recommended implementing a new zoning bylaw amendment.
The town said this would be a ‘short-term, interim measure’ as officials wait for the federal government to introduce new regulations that would impact marijuana dispensaries.
“Just because any zoning bylaw can be changed any time, it is just my feeling that we’re discouraging something that we don’t completely understand,” Campol said.
On Monday, people will be able to provide input at a public hearing before the issue goes for a third hearing.
Brynn Jones, an Okanagan marijuana business owner, is speaking in front of council.
His position: educate and regulate, not prohibit.
“I’m not hoping to change council, but bring information to them. We want civic council to make the right decisions for their community, no matter what they are. But we also want to make informed decisions,”Jones said.
Council will finalize a date for the third reading before the bylaw goes for adoption.