Cannabis shops win city council's support

Two proposals to establish privately-run cannabis stores unanimously won city council's support on Monday night.

Although a 25-name petition against the proposal had been submitted to council, just two people spoke during a hearing against opening a store in what was once the home of the Mai Thai restaurant in a strip mall off 484 Douglas St.

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Ken Simonar's concerns revolved largely around the impact on traffic in the area although he did also note a potential for increased loitering and vagrancy, which he said has been a problem with the nearby BX Cold Beer and Wine Store. Judy Klassen suggested the shop's name, Shire Green, would draw the eyes of young children. However, it was made clear that council can base its decision only on the land use and not on marketing.

Speaking in favour, Coun. Kyle Sampson suggested the impact on traffic and parking will be no worse than when it was a restaurant and noted the RCMP has indicated support for the use at the location. The store will be operated by Justin Mousseau and Ted Brown, who have owned and operated the nearby BX Pub and BX Cold Beer and Wine Store for three years. Once up and running, they said they would host a town hall with neighbours every two months to hear any concerns.

No opposition was expressed when a hearing was held for a proposal from Ginny and Fred Burnett to sell recreational cannabis out of their Zaga's Hemp Shop in the Redwood Mall at 1543 Victoria St.

The coast is not entirely clear for either initiative. Council limited their support to granting three-year temporary use permits to allow the city to monitor for any trouble before deciding whether to rezone the sites for the use.

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