Vancouver city council has voted to regulate and license the roughly 100 medical marijuana retailers in the city, making it the first city in Canada to do so.
The bylaw was supported by Mayor Gregor Robertson, the dominant Vision Vancouver councillors, and Green Party Coun. Adriane Carr. Opposed were the city’s three Non-Partisan Association councillors.
Coun. Kerry Jang called the controversial bylaw “a common-sense approach to dealing with the explosion of medical marijuana shops in our city.”
The bylaw will charge retail dealers a $30,000 licence fee — the city’s highest permit cost — and prevent shops from operating within 300 metres of community centres, schools and other pot shops.
Federal government opposed
Federal Health Minister Rona Ambrose opposed the bylaw, sending letters to Vancouver’s mayor and city councillors telling them marijuana is illegal and the bylaw will increase marijuana use and addiction.
In city council Wednesday, Coun. Geoff Meggs called that position “backward and destructive.” He repeated the city’s position that it’s taking action because the federal government has not.
“Wake up, you are completely out of touch with the realities on the ground,” said Meggs, aiming his comments at Ambrose.