A cannabis plant. (From Kelowna Capital News)

EDITORIAL: Revisiting cannabis regulations

Recent retail license application has brought up concerns about present policy in Summerland

Summerland’s latest cannabis retail store application shows once again the degree of controversy in the community over the regulations for these businesses.

The application, presented to Summerland council earlier this month, conformed to the present regulations and required no changes to the official community plan or the zoning bylaw.

But some in the community have said the location is not appropriate, since the site is too close to the Summerland Middle School and Summerland Secondary School.

In Summerland, cannabis shops are permitted downtown and at Summerfair Shopping Centre, but not in other parts of the community.

READ ALSO: Guidelines regulate Summerland cannabis stores

READ ALSO: Summerland council approves cannabis retail location

Shops must be at least 50 metres from schools, parks, playgrounds, libraries and community and youth centres.

There are no limitations on the number of stores permitted in the community, nor are there limitations on how close one store may be from another.

The Okanagan Skaha School Board has taken issue with these regulations, arguing that the 50-metre distance puts cannabis retail stores much too close to schools.

This is not the first time the regulations have been challenged.

Last year, a petition was circulated, asking the municipality to ban cannabis retail stores in the downtown area and to require a 750-metre buffer zone between stores.

There are differences of opinion regarding cannabis retail stores and how they should be regulated in Summerland, and these differences should be discussed.

However, the time to consider revisit the regulations is not when an application is before council.

The applicant has followed Summerland’s guidelines and regulations. Changing the rules at this point is unfair and would give the community the appearance of being inconsistent.

There is nothing wrong with revisiting and possibly changing the regulations governing cannabis retails stores.

However, this is a matter for careful contemplation and thoughtful discussion, preferably after the dust has settled on the present application.

— Black Press

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news@summerlandreview.com
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