Nanaimo mayor wants resources for pot problem

Nanaimo Mayor Bill McKay wants to make emergency motion to the B.C. Union of B.C. Municipalities around pot dispensaries.

Little can be done about pot dispensaries, according to Mayor Bill McKay, who says they’re not getting resources from the federal government to enforce the law.

Neither is the mayor willing to consider regulating medical marijuana dispensaries locally with business licenses, calling it a stop-gap measure and one that would add legitimacy to the outlets.

“We wouldn’t offer a house of prostitution a business license in Nanaimo, so why would we do this? Both activities are illegal,” he said.

Medical marijuana dispensaries are cropping up in the Harbour City, despite being seen as illegal by the federal government.

Health Canada licenses only six producers in B.C., like Tilray, to sell to registered, medically-prescribed patients and not from storefronts. In Nanaimo, however, there is a growing number of dispensaries selling bud, tinctures, marijuana-infused soda and brownies to people who self-declare a serious medical condition or have notes from medical professionals.

The city doesn’t currently license dispensaries, but neither does it fine them for being without a license it isn’t prepared to grant. The Nanaimo RCMP also hasn’t shut any dispensaries down in the last year. According to RCMP Supt. Mark Fisher, it takes time and resources to investigate and it depends on policing priorities.

“I have never said that they have a free ride or we aren’t going to pursue action against dispensaries,” Fisher said, adding it’s a matter of what evidence is gathered and when.

Nanaimo city council hasn’t yet followed in the footsteps of the City of Vancouver and City of Victoria in considering regulations and business licenses for medical marijuana dispensaries and although the mayor wants to see what happens in Victoria, he isn’t in favor of the model.

“We’ve got dispensaries selling product of absolutely unknown origin to members of our public and City of Vancouver and Victoria is now considering offering them business licenses,” he said.

McKay wants to make an emergency motion to the Union of B.C. Municipalities to urge the federal government to provide resources for Crown counsel and the RCMP, or expedite a Supreme Court challenge to new federal rules governing medical marijuana.

“If the fed government wants us to take them out by enforcement, then give us the resources,” he said.


Just Posted

Woodgrove Centre has a temporary COVID-19 vaccination clinic operated by Island Health. (News Bulletin file photo)
COVID-19 vaccine clinic set up at Woodgrove Centre

Anyone 12 and up can receive a first dose of mRNA vaccine seven days a week

Six United Way chapters around the province are merging into United Way B.C. (News Bulletin file photo)
Central Island’s United Way merging with other chapters to create United Way B.C.

Money raised in communities will stay in those communities, agency says

Young people graduating in COVID-19 times have shown resilience. (Stock photo)
Editorial: Class of 2021 has shown smarts and resilience

Congratulations and good luck to Grade 12s who have persevered during the pandemic

The Nanaimo Business Awards are accepting nominations now. (Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce image)
Nanaimo Business Awards accepting nominations of worthy winners

This year’s awards aren’t until the fall, but the nomination period ends June 28

Retailers say they’re ready for the ban on single-use plastic checkout bags in Nanaimo when it takes effect July 1. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Retailers report they’re ready for Nanaimo’s single-use checkout bag ban

Business operators say there’s been plenty of time to plan and prepare for bylaw that kicks in July 1

A person stands in a tower on the perimeter of the Number 3 Detention Center in Dabancheng in western China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region on April 23, 2021. Human rights groups and Western nations led by the United States, Britain and Germany accused China of massive crimes against the Uyghur minority and demanded unimpeded access for U.N. experts at a virtual meeting on Wednesday, May 12, 2021 denounced by China as “politically motivated” and based on “lies.” THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Mark Schiefelbein
VIDEO: Trudeau demands truth from China about Uyghurs

PM says Canada has admitted broken Indigenous relationship, unlike China on Uyghurs

Council members and witnesses from the Hupacasath First Nation, left, and Tseshaht First Nation, right, prepare to raise their respective flags in front of Port Alberni City Hall on Monday, June 21, 2021. The flags will permanently fly as part of the city’s reconciliation work. See more coverage from the flag raising ceremony on page A5. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
Vancouver Island First Nations flags to fly permanently at city hall

Addition of flags are one Port Alberni response to reconciliation

Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran, middle right, participates in a ribbon-cutting ceremony in honour of the launch of Kelowna’s plasma donor centre at Orchard Plaza Mall on June 22. From left to right: Canadian Blood Services’ business development manager Janna Pantella, Canadian Blood Services’ operational excellence manager Tyler Burke, Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran and Canadian Blood Services’ centre manager Janine Johns. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
B.C.’s first dedicated plasma donor centre opens in Kelowna

The Kelowna location is the third dedicated plasma donor to open in Canada

Children walk with their parents to Sherwood Park Elementary in North Vancouver for the first day back to school on Sept. 10, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Study reassures parents, teachers that COVID-19 infrequently shared at school

Federally funded study in Vancouver finds risk in the classroom and in the community identical

Conservative MP Kevin Waugh rises during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday April 13, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Single-game sports betting about to become legal in Canada

Senate passes bill to take sports gambling away from overseas agencies

Point Roberts is part of the mainland United States but not physically connected to it, to reach the community by land one must pass through Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Closed Canadian border leaves Point Roberts’ only grocery store on verge of closure

‘We’re Americans but we’re not attached to America. It’s easy to forget we’re here,’ says owner Ali Hayton

The Somass Sawmill sits idle in early May 2021. While the kilns have been in use occasionally, and the lot has been used to store woodchips this spring, the mill has been curtailed since July 27, 2017. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
Port Alberni to expropriate Somass Sawmill from Western Forest Products

Sawmill has been ‘indefinitely’ curtailed since 2017

Robin Sanford and her fiance Simon Park were married in an impromptu ceremony at Abbotsford Regional Hospital on June 16. (Submitted photo)
Mom dies day after witnessing daughter’s hospital wedding in Abbotsford

Nurses help arrange impromptu ceremony in 3 hours for bride and groom

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson with Premier John Horgan after the budget speech Tuesday, April 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. home owner grant won’t be altered, despite expert advice

Tax break for residences worth up to $1.6 million too popular

Most Read