West Vancouver banning dispensaries is to have a “cautionary approach”

West Vancouver banning dispensaries and cannabis production is not a full-fledged a prohibitionist approach, argues one official.

West Vancouver, which is more than 42 thousand in population, became on Monday the latest municipality in BC to ban dispensaries and cannabis production.

The decision to ban dispensaries was made after a unanimous vote with West Vancouver’s councilors saying that there shouldn’t be any businesses without a re-zoning hearing.

West Vancouver’s director of planning Jim Bailey, meanwhile, dubbed the vote as having some prohibitionist undertones, but it is rather “cautionary.”

“In a way, it’s prohibition light,” Bailey said, adding there shouldn’t be any confusion over passing the bylaw and telling businesses they are welcome.

“It is a more cautionary approach,” said Bailey.

“I think the word ‘prohibition’ is catching on, but it’s a little bit harsh.”
West Vancouver bans dispensaries
Jim Bailey, West Vancouver director of planning and development services. (File image via CBC)

Re-zoning after legalization

Only after legalization and municipal elections in October, the staff will create a regulatory framework to allow retail operations without re-zoning.

“I think the staff is on the right track, and we’re moving forward, but as per usual, a little on the slow side,” said Coun. Nora Gambioli, CBC News reported.

Not only West Vancouver bans dispensaries

Bailey said he would like to see more of a dialogue see with other municipalities on the North Shore, as “our geographies are very linked.”

So far, West Vancouver is among other communities in North Shore that has decided to prohibit cannabis shops.

After a 5-1 vote, the City of North Vancouver decided to ban retail cannabis sales within its borders in early June.

“If you adopt these bylaws, retail sales will not be permitted ‘by right’ in West Vancouver,”  Bailey said. “You could consider them through rezoning applications, but ‘by right,’ they would not be permitted,” he further explained.