Councillors in Sechelt have approved temporary use permits (TUP) for existing cannabis retailers in anticipation of the legalization of non-medical cannabis use.
The planning committee had previously recommended granting the permits to WeeMedical on Teredo Street; Weeds on Wharf Avenue; the 420 Hemp Shop on Cowrie Street; and Sunshine Extracts and Concentrates, which operates out of a location on Sechelt Inlet Crescent.
The TUPs will allow the businesses to operate legally for up to two years while awaiting approval of provincial licences and while the district considers zoning changes and other regulations that will apply to cannabis retailers and producers.
Mayor Bruce Milne opened the discussion of the TUPs by saying Sechelt was going that route to protect the district’s interests.
“It’s been a long story with non-medical marijuana in the District of Sechelt,” Milne said. “They’re all operating without business licences. We’re not going to issue business licences to illegal operations; on the other hand, the RCMP categorically failed and would not close them down… Now, as we’re moving towards legalization, the legal advice is that even if they’re operating outside of our permits system, putting a temporary use permit on them is a very important step in safeguarding our interests.”
Coun. Noel Muller, who chairs the planning committee that recommended granting the permits, said using TUPs also gives the district the flexibility to adjust to any changes made by the federal and provincial governments as their new legislation takes force.
“It gives us the leeway in our system to deal with what’s coming down from higher governments,” he said. “They are absolutely in the driver’s seat when it comes to marijuana legalization and I’ll be taking my cues from them. At this point we still have the structure to deal with this at a later date if zoning and land use becomes an issue.”
Only one councillor voted against granting the permits – Doug Wright. He did not talk about his reasons.