Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Public Hearing offers community feedback as Prince Rupert Council moves forward on marijuana plans

Prince Rupert City Council is moving
forward with its plans for a one
ban on commercial marijuana
establishments in the city
A small group of city resident provided some points for consideration for City Council as the City's plans to implement a one year ban on the operation of commercial marijuana dispensaries moved forward at Monday's Council session.

Residents were invited to take part in a Public Hearing which had originally been scheduled as part of the since cancelled January 23rd Council session, the additional two weeks didn't seem to bring any wave of interest in the topic, with only three participants taking advantage of the opportunity to offer comment on the proposed bylaw motion.

From that public participation the comments were generally supportive of the prohibition, with those participating in the public forum notice noting that it gives the city opportunity to review a range of issues related to the introduction of the industry once the Federal legislation is put in place.

The need for clarity for any regulation was also an area that the Hearing participants noted was important, suggesting that the city engage with local stakeholders and explore models and information from other communities to determine how the city's language and bylaw plans would be functional.

The City's council members discussed the issue in full later in the session, taking up the debate following a short presentation from Hans Seidemann, the City's Director of Community Development who made note of the comments of the public in the hearing process and added that no correspondences had been received from the public prior to the evening's meeting.

To provide a timeline for Council and the public, Mr. Seidemann noted that the prohibition would last until January of 2018, allowing time for the City to learn more about the Federal government's plans towards legalization of marijuana.

The only real discussion on the theme came from an initial attempt by Councillor Joy Thorkelson to add an amendment to the motion to allow for medical marijuana options during the prohibition, however the subsequent discussion on the theme gave cause for the City Manager to urge caution noting that Council could not introduce new issues once the Public Hearing process had been completed.

As the Council members weighed that input it was determined that Ms. Thorkelson's motion would  not be required as the medical marijuana issue was not part of Council's initiative on the Commerical industry.

Once they sorted that all out and the amendment was withdrawn by Ms. Thorkelson, the council members then voted to approve their motion and move the process forward.

You can review more on the discussion from our City Council Timeline feature here.

A full look at the back and forth of the issue can be viewed from the City Council You Tube archive, the conversation starts at the 1 hour and four minute mark.

More notes on developments from City Council can be found on our City Council Discussion page here.

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