Letter: Downtown marijuana businesses

As the proprietor of Valley Hemp Co., I have some deep thoughts on the matter of dispensaries downtown.

As the proprietor of Valley Hemp Co., I have some deep thoughts on the matter (Penticton Western News, Nov. 30, Members of DPA nip dispensaries in the bud).

Currently, we have completely unregulated operations selling completely unregulated products. These may have medicinal benefits, but administered improperly can be dangerous, or even downright charlatanism, potions that make outrageous and untrue claims and have little or no active ingredients.

RCMP can bust these shops, charging both staff and proprietors, and sometimes those staff are left hung out to dry by the owners and deal with the charges on their own.

Because it is a cash only industry, it’s a big risk for violent robberies.

We (Valley Hemp) have made the decision to only sell legal products in the two shops, but investigated becoming a dispensary. The high risk to staff, family and neighbourhood businesses made us decide to wait until there is federal law change, not just charge ahead.

That being said, if these dispensaries decide they should sell all our same tobacco products, we will simply be the only head shop in town that doesn’t sell weed. Just because I’ve chosen to operate in the current system of laws and keep my staff safe. This can mean an uphill competition battle for us and the seven staff and their families that I employ. An unfair one, I feel.

We are really good at what we do, our staff is very knowledgeable and our products are proven, I know we can handle competition, I’m just not a fan of unfair competition. And my other deep thought is that a seldom used charge is “conspiracy to traffick” and it covers even talking about future drug trafficking as a crime. This could make the city and landlords complicit upon licensing, especially with a high fee, as acknowledged traffickers.

I feel that if the council can get in writing an assurance of legality of these enterprises from the RCMP, they should limit dispensaries to simply dispensing green herb, not edibles, tinctures or oils, which people can prepare themselves, and is where most of the snake oil type claims come from. It could be a good thing. but risky, for owners, staff, corporate neighbours and others.

Amanda Stewart

Penticton