Princeton not ready to talk pot

Municipalities grappling with how to prepare for marijuana sales

The Town of Princeton isn’t ready to start talking about pot.

While the issue is being raised increasingly in BC municipalities – in advance of marijuana being made legal to purchase on July 1, 2018 – council is not ready to commit to any plan, said Deputy Mayor Doug Pateman.

Mayor Frank Armitage was not available to comment on the issue.

“We are going to wait and see what the province rolls out, see what their guidelines are. We really can’t come forward until we have the rules and regulations, especially around taxation, and what it really looks like,” said Pateman in an interview with The Spotlight.

Last week the district council in Peachland gave three readings to a bylaw prohibiting the sale of cannabis products in the district.

That bylaw is intended as a preventative measure to keep retail shops from opening, said Peachland CAO Elsie Lemke.

“We’ve banned it everywhere in the community. Once the legislation is in place then we will put the zoning in place so we can permit it in the areas of town that the community sees as the right place to put it,” she told Black Press.

The issue has yet to be discussed at Princeton town council, however at its January 15 meeting a letter addressing marijuana taxation was received as information from the City of West Kelowna.

The letter stated that “the impact may affect policing, fire services, communications, law, etc. City of West Kelowna Mayor and Council is requesting your support, by writing to the province to lobby them to agree to 50 per cent of the provincial share of cannabis tax sharing formula to be provided to local governments. This is an adequate and equitable share to help support costs and services incurred by local governments.”

Pateman said so far he has only been approached by one resident in the community, asking about the local policy for selling marijuana.

“Myself, and I think council as a whole, we are not being closed minded or anything. We are keeping an open mind but we really can’t come out with any opinion yet.”

In December the provincial government announced the structure of its model for rolling out legalization.

Recreational pot will be sold in both public and privately owned stores, and the Liquor Distribution Branch will oversee distribution. The legal age for purchase will be 19.

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