Wednesday, January 30, 2019

City council's cannabis process called into question by hopeful production proponent

Mr. Joe Lewis appeared at Monday's Council Committee of the Whole
Session to express his thoughts on the city's cannabis industry licensing process

How the City of Prince Rupert has approached its roll out of its policy on Cannabis made for some vigorous back and forth at Monday's City Council session, as a proponent of a production facility for the community outlined his frustrations with the city's current policies on the cannabis industry in the community,

During the course of Monday's Committee of the Whole session, Joe Lewis representing the Mr. Nice Guys Cannabis Corporation spoke to Councils approach to its Cannabis retail launch in the community and its sole focus on the retail side of the industry.

He observed as to the potential for cannabis production and the jobs that it would create for the region and how his business proposal could deliver revenue and employment to the community.

"Our corporation wishes to start a licensed production facility, the business model would employ a fair number of people with good paying jobs, and as you may have read in the media there's a huge shortage for cannabis in the public market. So the city, by not entertaining us or moving forward with this is costing anywhere from 50 to 100 thousand dollars in lost revenues in waiting"

He put the focus on the production jobs and spin off jobs that his proposed facility would generate for the community Towards that overview, he pointed towards the city's own Watson Island facility, or other areas of the city as a prime potential locations for a cannabis production facility.

He observed how the retail focus will only deliver a handful of jobs for the community, while the larger scale option of a local production facility would be of larger benefit towards employment and revenue streams.

Mr, Lewis also raised his concern with how he viewed the approach towards licensing that the city is taking and how they are considering out of town retail proposals at the expense of some of the local options

In response to his commentary, Councillor Niesh and Mayor Brain observed that at the moment Council was only considering the retail opportunities as part of the city's entry into the new Cannabis regulations as just the first step and how they were working towards the other elements.

"When we first looked at these rules for being in business in Prince Rupert it wasn't a matter of not wanting to have the operations of growing it, it's just a matter of doing it in steps, you know Federal rules, provincial rules they all come into place and it takes time, it's not an overnight thing, we are working towards other parts of this too" -- Councillor Wade Niesh on the city's approach towards the cannabis industry.

In a follow up to Mr. Lewis concerns towards his application, Mayor Brain  noted that council was not looking to debate the issue with him at this time, and also observed as to how the city was currently following the guidelines of the province as part of their process towards their cannabis consideration.

Wrapping up the city's view on the process ahead the mayor called for patience as Council works towards exploring the other aspects of the cannabis industry.

The City's approach to retail licensing also attracted some attention from Mr. Joey Jacks, who inquired of council as to whether they would be interested in writing a letter to seek out a BC Government Cannabis store for the community, citing the well paid union jobs that such a retail operation would bring to the city.

You can review the full exchange between Mr. Lewis and Council members from the City's Video Archive page starting at the twenty eight minute mark.

For more items related to Monday's City Council session see our Council Timeline Feature.

A wider overview of City Council Discussion themes can be found on our council archive page here.

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