Queen Charlotte council has passed a new zoning bylaw that stops recreational marijuana shops from sparking up before the village is ready.
The bylaw still allows personal use and licensed production of medicinal marijuana.
“It’s good to get out in front of this,” said Mayor Greg Martin, speaking at an April 18 council meeting.
Lori Wiedeman, chief administrative officer for the village, said the idea is just to put things on hold until the village finds out how and where residents want pot shops to run. At that point, the village will lift the ban.
Queen Charlotte councillors are trying to avoid a repeat of the scenario in Victoria, where several pot shops cropped up before the city got a chance to say where they go.
Unless the city takes a hardline stance and sends in the police, as the town of Merritt did, the shops could be grandfathered in when Ottawa starts legalizing marijuana sales in July 2018.
“It’s been a big headache for Victoria,” Martin said.
Even with the new Queen Charlotte bylaw in place, eager business owners could apply for a special variance to open early.
But that would only happen with council’s say-so.
Village staff are now compiling results from an online survey that asked residents how they would like to regulate marijuana sales. So far, at least three people have told the village they are thinking about getting into the business.
Pot shops will also be a hot topic at Queen Charlotte’s first forum on its new official community plan. Featuring a ‘dot-mocracy’ sticker exercise, door prizes and kids’ activities, the forum will run from 3 to 5 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. on Saturday, April 29 in the Queen Charlotte community hall.