Coun. Jake Kimberley continued his opposition to allowing cannabis retail on Main and Front Streets. Steve Kidd/Western News

Cannabis stores allowed in downtown Penticton

City council removes ban on stores in city core

Cannabis retailers will be able to locate along Main and Front Street in Penticton’s downtown core, thanks to a vote by city council this week.

Related: Cannabis policy gets council endorsement

Opinion remained somewhat divided on not including a ban, both at the council table and with downtown business owners who came forward.

Allayne Clark, of Banks Travel, is concerned allowing cannabis retail to locate downtown would increase the social problems they already see.

“We are completely against the cannabis store going in right next to us. It’s just adding fuel to the fire. We already have a huge issue,” said Clark. “Almost every single day somebody comes into our office that is either homeless, drunk, stoned or has a mental illness. They wander in every single day.”

“If it does go ahead and there is a problem … how are you going solve it? What’s the plan for that?”

Daryl Clarke, a Penticton chamber of commerce director, felt allowing cannabis retail in the core wouldn’t change anything, at least not for the negative.

“We do have a problem downtown with the homeless, with the mentally ill, with the drug addicted, but they’re there now,” said Clarke. “It’s (cannabis stores) not a drug operation. It’s not going to be what it used to be. It’s not what everybody is fearing.

“I’d like to see the stores allowed in these areas but we do need to keep working on the other problems in the downtown. We also need to be realistic and not blame them on the future cannabis store that’s not there now.”

On council, Coun. Jake Kimberley continued his opposition to allowing the stores in downtown.

“If we allow the operation of cannabis stores in the downtown, I think it’s going to be difficult legally to close them down if they create a problem,” said Kimberley, who also cited concerns that black market sellers would also move into the area to compete with the higher price legal sellers would have to charge.

“The peddlers that are out there, the drug movers and the sellers, will be out there competing,” said Kimberley, who also cited concerns about children seeing the stores, and argued that people coming to buy pot wouldn’t likely be shopping at other stores.

“They’re not going down there to do shopping, they’re going down there to buy the drugs. Let them go elsewhere to buy their drugs.”

Coun. Julius Bloomfield argued that a century ago, you might have heard the same arguments about the sale of alcohol.

“The problems downtown are created not by the people that are smoking what is now a legal drug. Downtown problems are more of a social issue …those people are consuming drugs that are still illegal and should be,” said Bloomfield. “To penalize cannabis for the social problems that we have downtown is like penalizing wine and beer stores for the same thing.”

Bloomfield also noted that people think nothing of a child walking past a wine store.

“From a drug perspective, cannabis poses less of a threat to society than alcohol,” said Bloomfield, adding that the city doesn’t restrict the sales and trading of other businesses.

“I think we have to change our thinking as to what’s an acceptable behaviour or what’s an acceptable drug, whether it be alcohol or cannabis.”

Sentes echoed Bloomfield’s comments.

“I think we’re open for business. This is a business that’s been legalized, whether you like it or not, it’s here,” said Sentes. “I don’t think we go to the other businesses in town and place similar restrictions on them.”

Just Posted

Is your business ready for when disaster strikes? Find out at FutureBiz Penticton 2019

The event for entrepreneurs to learn and connect returns for its second year on Dec. 4

Shinedown pumped to return to Penticton

The metal band stops at the South Okanagan Events Centre on Oct. 15

Celtic Illusion coming to Penticton in 2020

The show features contemporary Irish dance paired with grand illusions and magic

Alice Cooper coming back to South Okanagan

Alice Cooper’s Ol’ Black Eyes is Back is coming to Penticton in April 2020

Soupateria serves up Thanksgiving for plenty of patrons

Over 175 meals were served by the team of volunteers over two hours on Monday.

Election 2019: Connie Denesiuk – Liberal Party candidate for South Okanagan – West Kootenay

Connie Denesiuk is running for the Liberal Party in the South Okanagan – West Kootenay riding

B.C. boosts legal aid funding in new payment contract

‘Duty counsel’ service restored in some communities, David Eby says

Rugby Canada helps recovery efforts in Japan after typhoon cancels final match

Canadian players wanted to “give back in whatever small way they could”

Enderby massage therapist reprimanded, fined for exposing patients’ breasts

Registered massage therapist admits professional misconduct

Cheating husband sues mistress for gifted ring after wife learns about affair

The husband gave his mistress $1,000 to buy herself a ring in December 2017

British couple vacationing in Vancouver detained in US after ‘accidentally’ crossing border

Parents travelling with three-month-old reportedly being held in Pennsylvania

After losing two baby boys, B.C. parents hope to cut through the taboo of infant death

Oct. 15 is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day in B.C.

Extra week added to Sagmoen trial

Pre-trial conference Tuesday sees trial proper date pushed back to Dec. 2

Alberta to join B.C.’s class-action lawsuit against opioid manufacturers, distributors

B.C. government claims opioids were falsely marketed as less addictive than other pain meds

Most Read