Abbotsford residents to get say on whether four pot stores is right amount to start

City to solicit feedback on proposed rules to govern legal marijuana stores

City staff have recommended limiting the number of legal marijuana stores in Abbotsford to just four when such businesses are first allowed to open, but that number could change depending on feedback from the public.

On Monday, staff gave council a preview of plans to create a framework to regulate marijuana sales in the city. They will now take those ideas to the public before returning with an actual policy that council can vote on this fall. That means Abbotsford isn’t likely to see any legal marijuana stores until winter at the earliest.

The draft policies take a deliberately incremental approach, community planning director Mark Neill told council. Staff have identified 13 sites across the city that could be pre-zoned to allow marijuana stores.

After the zoning for those sites – generally strip malls and shopping centres – is adjusted, the city would then start taking in applications from would-be store operators. After a set deadline, staff and council could then compare those applications with one another and approve a pre-determined number of stores.

“The benefit of this approach is that council is able to evaluate and compare the applications, and make a decision on preferred stores for the entire city,” staff write in the report.

Staff also hope to see the stores distributed across the city, rather than concentrated in one area.

First, though, the plans will be put to the public at both open houses and online surveys.

Neill told council that input will shape their final suggested rules. The public will be asked whether they think four stores is too much, too little, or just right, and whether the 13 selected sites are appropriate.

“What we try not to do is create all the material to the point where it’s 100 per cent complete,” he said. “This is not set in stone.”

Council unanimously voted to proceed with the plan.

Coun. Dave Loewen applauded the “measured” approach.

“We only get one chance to do it right and if we do it wrong, it’s more difficult to undo our mistakes,” he said.

As for the many unregulated marijuana stores currently operating, last month B.C.’s public safety minister announced that an enforcement team had begun investigating some illegal locations around the province.

But Mike Farnworth also said that before closing down such stores, the team is informing operators about the new rules.

RELATED: Marijuana stores should be legal, Abbotsford residents tell council

RELATED: Cannabis enforcement unit now checking unlicensed B.C. pot stores


@ty_olsen
tolsen@abbynews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Search continues for person seen floating in Coquihalla River in Hope

Rescuers halted the search Thursday night as darkness fell

Rescuers halt Coquihalla River search due to darkness, after reports of person in river

No information to indicate a child is involved, RCMP state, after this information surfaced on social media

Arrest at Abbotsford shopping centre

Man detained Thursday afternoon

Two Chilliwack women make weekly Crime Stoppers most wanted list

Ashley Felix and Raina McDonald wanted on unrelated issues

United Way grant provides food to 100 former prisoners, families

Abbotsford-based M2/W2 Association receives $25,000 to supply groceries

‘Mind boggling’: B.C. man $1 million richer after winning Lotto 6/49 a second time

David O’Brien hopes to use his winnings to travel and of course keep playing the lottery

White-throated sparrows have changed their tune, B.C. study unveils

Study marks an unprecedented development scientists say has caused them to sit up and take note

B.C. teacher loses licence after sexual relationships with two recently-graduated students

The teacher won’t be allowed to apply for a teaching certificate until 2035

Lower Mainland teacher facing child pornography charges

Elazar Reshef, 52, has worked in the Delta School District

Missing Fraser Valley woman has not been in contact with family for several months

The RCMP are asking for the public’s help in locating 35-year-old Chantelle Chenier of Chilliwack

Man who rammed gate near Trudeau residence with truck faces multiple charges

The man, who police have not yet officially identified, will be charged with multiple offences

All community COVID-19 outbreaks declared over in B.C.

Abbotsford manufacturer cleared by Dr. Bonnie Henry

Kelowna RCMP commander calls for more nurses during wellness checks after complaint

Southeast District Commander wants to increase Police and Crisis Team program

Most Read