Lake Cowichan’s first pot dispensary has opened, ahead of the legalization of marijuana. (Lexi Bainas/Gazette)

Lake Cowichan’s first pot dispensary has opened, ahead of the legalization of marijuana. (Lexi Bainas/Gazette)

Lake Cowichan will wait for legalization before deciding locations for pot stores

Lake Cowichan council tell school board they’ll wait for legalizing of pot before making regulations

Lake Cowichan town council won’t be making any decisions on the location of pot dispensaries in town until the federal government makes marijuana legal in Canada.

A brief discussion at the July 25 council meeting was generated by a letter from the Cowichan Valley School District board of education’s chair, Candace Spilsbury.

In it, she asked Lake Cowichan to develop “policies similar to other jurisdictions in not permitting marijuana dispensary stores close to schools.”

Whether or not to allow pot dispensaries at all has been a controversial subject with the legal situation in limbo at the moment, but the Town of Lake Cowichan is not allowing such stores to purchase business licences in town yet.

So far, there is only one location open in Lake Cowichan, and it doesn’t have a business licence, according to the town.

Spilsbury and her fellow trustees are concerned about where they might be located.

“The board wishes to inform all local governments of the high need to collectively do our utmost to protect our young people and ask that the community’s best interests at heart be considered in planning any local developments. We wish to state clearly that we are not taking a stand for or against the use of medical marijuana, our request is about zoning bylaws for businesses selling marijuana in close proximity to K-12 schools,” Spilsbury said.

Lake Cowichan Mayor Ross Forrest pointed out, when the letter was considered by council, “We don’t allow them now. This should be saved until when it does become legal. That’s the time to look at this. We’re not the only community that’s going to be struggling at that time. “

Coun. Tim McGonigle said another factor is how the provincial government will become involved in dealing with the sale of legal pot.

Forrest said that subject probably came up recently in talks between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and new B.C. Premier John Horgan.

lexi.bainas@cowichanvalleycitizen.com