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Richmond council mulls licensing marijuana dispensaries

Staff told to weigh pros and cons of licensing Wild West product
Cannabis Marijuana clinic
A cannabis clinic in Vancouver. Photo by Vancouver Sun

Richmond’s planning committee has asked city staff to investigate the merits of licensing medical marijuana dispensaries in the same fashion as the City of Vancouver.

City spokesperson Ted Townsend said because such dispensaries are illegal under federal law, the city has no regulatory bylaw concerning marijuana, making its sale effectively illegal in the city.

“If (someone) operates without a business licence they would be contravening our bylaws and subject to enforcement. There’s no specific prohibition of medical marijuana dispensaries, but the absence of any regulatory mechanism under which they could operate effectively does the same thing,” said Townsend via email.

However, medical marijuana

Coun. Bill McNulty said he does not want dispensaries in Richmond.

“We have (a research facility) already. I don’t believe council is prepared to move on changing that,” said McNulty.

In Vancouver, there are reported to be close to 80 dispensaries operating without a licence. That city has not enforced such operations and has, instead, chosen to create a new licence for the product, much to the chagrin of the federal government.

Richmond could follow suit should council decide to create its own bylaw.

Townsend said staff will lay out the pros and cons of licensing and make a recommendation to council.