Port Coquitlam officials look to ban marijuana sales
By Aaron Guillen, Staff Reporter
Port Coquitlam residents may soon lose have the luxury of easy accessibility to marijuana, should specific bylaw changes take place within the next few months. A report from Port Coquitlam city staff has given the recommendation to city council to: “Prohibit the sale and distribution of marijuana products and related paraphernalia.”
Recently, city officials have been dissatisfied with the recreational marijuana sales that have been taking place on their soil. According to a report from the Joint Smart Growth Committee and Community Safety Committee, the need to review municipal regulations has arisen due to the sudden appearance of compassion clubs and vape shops. In addition, the Liberal federal government is expected to fulfill their campaign promises and begin the regulation of medical and non-medical marijuana by this summer.
Last November, Port Coquitlam officials took their action as Cannabis Culture, a local marijuana store front, was raided by RCMP and had products seized for inspection under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.
Looking to the future, Cannabis Culture is planning on shutting its doors very soon. With under three months since the seize, Jodie Emery, spokesperson for the marijuana dispensary, shared her disdain for the business’ prospects with the press.
“This is a very sad time for the city of Port Coquitlam and I feel sorry for the citizens there who have to live under such a regressive local government,” she said to the Tri-City News.
In addition, she expressed her distaste concerning the specific bylaw changes, calling them “ridiculous.” With added pressure from city officials, the landlord has been under harsh scrutiny and has decided to take action.
Recently, Mayor Greg Moore shared his point of view to Tri-City News on the ordeal.
“…[A]ny paraphernalia sold is only promoting an illegal substance. They’re all leading towards illegal activity,” said Moore to the Tri-City News. “[Essentially], they’re operating illegally. They’re in violation of city laws, federal laws, [and] of their lease agreement. These are not upstanding people. They’re willing to break the law at every corner, and we don’t want those types of people in our community.”
On a related note, the local cannabis industry is raising the issues of the plain packaging and advertising ban route, in preparation for future federal legalization. Garfield Malhood, president of the Campaign for Justice on Tobacco Fraud, doesn’t have faith in the federal government to effectively regulate and restrict the marketing of marijuana. Until that day comes, residents across the Metro Vancouver region can only hope that local and federal officials have their best interests in mind.