Dispensaries selling marijana should be located in the downtown, say Rosslanders.

Dispensaries selling marijana should be located in the downtown, say Rosslanders.

Keep pot shops away from kids, say Rosslanders

Citizen’s survey gives council guidelines for bylaws

Rossland’s city council will let the market decide how many cannabis dispensaries will be allowed in town- but they’ll be nowhere near schools or places where young people gather.

And public smoking of weed in the city’s downtown commercial zone will be prohibited.

The rules on the use and sale of cannabis are being developed now, after council gave city staff direction based on the results of an online survey of locals on what the city should do when marijuana is legalized.

Results from the cannabis survey were released this week by council.

The city received more than 500 responses to its survey, designed to give local politicans a sense of the public’s wishes when it came to allowing pot in city boundaries.

The city is adjusting its bylaws in anticipation of legalization of recreational cannabis later this summer. Cities and towns have the authority to set their own regulations on marijuana sales and use in their communities.

And while not a scientific survey, it also gives a bit of a snapshot into local attitudes about marijuana use:a large majority of residents are for legalization; but youth access to cannabis is a concern.

The largest number of respondents (155) only want two stores in town, though a lot (130) wanted only one. Conversely, a fair number (131) said there should be no limit. But council decided that the market, not council, should determine how many shops the city can support- and let good business practices determine who survives.

• a majority indicated the downtown core commercial zone should be where the shops are located.

• the largest number of respondents felt stores should be 150 metres away from schools, day cares and youth centres (176)- yet again, a large minority (151) felt there should be no restriction.

• provincial legislation on business hours should be followed (183 agreed), but no stricter security systems should be demanded. Council recommended both ideas to staff, saying they didn’t want to overreach into how businesses run themselves.

• nearly half of respondents (244) said the city should follow the rules outlined in its draft Clean Air Bylaw — smoking and vaping in public should be banned in many areas.

• stores selling cannabis products should have air filter systems to minimize odour impacts

“I think we got the information we needed,” says Mayor Kathy Moore. “I love when the public tells us what their views are. There was a lot of variety, for as small as we are, there’s quite a diverse population and what they feel about it. It’s a delicate balancing act to try to create legislation that is the best for the community, and that is our intent.”

Moore said some respondents thought the city was overstepping its mandate by getting involved in the debate, but she says municipalities have a strong role to play in regulating the operation of cannabis stores locally — especially in their siting, daily operations and local consumption laws.

“It is us actually being responsible about what the bylaw is going to look like, and make it be something that works for the majority of Rosslanders,” she says.

Council accepted the cannabis survey as information on Tuesday, and directed staff to draw up amendments to bylaws to reflect their views, based on the survey. The city’s zoning bylaw, business bylaws, and upcoming Clean Air Bylaw will all be adjusted to reflect the reality of legalized marijuana.

Those amendments will be coming before council for approval over the next few months. Marijuana is expected to be legalized sometime later in the summer.

What you said

Here are some of the comments received in the survey (no names were attached to the comments in the survey):

“I feel there needs to be a balance on how we try to regulate other people’s behaviour. If cigarettes,

marijuana and alcohol are legal to buy, then they are legal to use. You can’t drink in public places so it

seems appropriate to have similar restrictions with marijuana. I am not a smoker of pot or tobacco

but I feel just because I may not like the smell of the smoke I have just as much responsibility to be

respectful to the smoker as I want them to be respectful to me. We do not need to micro manage

people’s behavior just because we don’t like them.”

“I agree that public consumption should have some restrictions but we don’t need to hide the fact that

people smoke cannabis. In Rossland it is odd to see people smoke cigarettes but it is very common in

other parts of this region/province/country. If cannabis is legal then we should be able to smoke in

SOME public spaces. I also think we should be able to consume alcohol in public places. I know that

some people can’t just consume these products in moderation and that’s the problem, it’s too bad

because it ruins it for everyone else. When it’s legal we can’t treat cannabis like it is an illegal drug.”

“This regulation is really important to me. I checked the first choice but could be convinced to go

stricter if I had more information. Note that I like to partake, am supportive of legalization, but have

concerns about making weed too acceptable. It’s a strong drug, has side effects that we probably

don’t even yet recognize, and if kids especially, (and adults) smell and observe everyday common use,

it sends the wrong message.”

^

“Suggestion: There should be something included with regards to a being “good neighbour” as many

folks will not want smoke waffling into their home/dwelling from the people smoking next door as an

example. We don’t tolerate our neighbours disturbing the peace from intoxication or loud music etc.

Smoke fumes could be just as intrusive to some people.”

^

“It is less harmful than booze . I don’t see the reason for any of this when other worst things are

available very easily . Will these same rules apply for liquor licences and the clean air laws what if my

neighbour cooks with curry . I don’t like that smell, can that be included in the new laws also add wood

smoke and dryer .”

 

A map showing potential zoning areas where dispensaries could be located.

A map showing potential zoning areas where dispensaries could be located.