Masset council is hoping to spark some public feedback on how recreational marijuana should be sold in the village.
From now until March 30, Masset residents are invited to write the village with any concerns or suggestions they have about how or where local marijuana businesses should run. The Canadian government expects to legalize recreational marijuana in July.
Mayor Andrew Merilees said council decided to ask for feedback after the B.C. government released its licensing guide for future non-medical marijuana retailers last week.
“Now that’s out in the public, we thought it was prudent for us to start moving on it,” Merilees said.
“This is really preliminary. If anybody comes to us in the future, by provincial regulations we have to have a public meeting to discuss that specific application. So there will be future opportunities.”
Merilees said apart from a couple of people who stopped him to chat informally on the street, no one has made any inquiries about opening a Masset marijuana shop yet.
While Queen Charlotte councillors recently passed a temporary bylaw to prevent recreational marijuana shops from opening before they are legalized, Masset council wasn’t so concerned.
“I believe that anybody in Masset is going to wait to see everything laid out and approach it that way,” he said.
“I don’t think there’s that pressure to jump the gun and get something illegally started early. We haven’t seen that.”
Masset is among the many B.C. municipalities interested in sharing some of the tax revenue the province will receive from marijuana sales.
“Ultimately, we’re the ones who are going to be left with all the enforcement and bylaw issues,” Merilees said.
According to the 57 local governments who responded to a Union of B.C. Municipalities survey on recreational marijuana last year, their leading concern by far is that legalization will lead to new responsibilities being “downloaded” onto them from the provincial and federal governments.
Nearly 80 per cent of the responding municipalities said downloading of duties was their top concern. At 45 per cent, public safety was number two.
Emails can be sent to the Village of Masset at firstname.lastname@example.org, and letters can either be dropped off at the village office or mailed to PO Box 68, Masset BC, V0T 1M0.
The deadline for written feedback is March 30.