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Taylor holding public hearing on altering zoning bylaw to temporarily prohibit growing and selling pot

TAYLOR, B.C. — The District of Taylor will be holding a public hearing later this month to gather feedback on an amendment to the District’s zoning bylaw that would prohibit the growing and selling of cannabis – at least temporarily.

The bylaw amendments had their first two readings at the last regular council meeting on December 18th. The bylaw amendment states that, “The selling, dispensing, or cultivation of marijuana” would be added to the list of Prohibited Uses under all property zones, while “medical marijuana production” would be removed from the permitted uses on properties zoned light or heavy industrial.

The District’s Chief Administrative Officer Charlotte McLeod explained that the District is not looking to permanently outlaw cannabis, but is seeking to disallow the currently illegal recreational drug under its current bylaw scheme. She added that Council could then roll back some of those prohibitions once recreational marijuana becomes legal, which is anticipated to occur on July 1st.

When asked about the redundancy of making a currently illegal substance prohibited under the city’s bylaws, McLeod explained that the District is merely looking to get ahead of the curve when it comes permitting of marijuana sales and dispensaries due to uncertainty over the as-yet unknown provincial and federal regulations. That sentiment was echoed by Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies MP Bob Zimmer during his year-end Q&A session with the Peace River Regional District Board on December 8th.

Responding to Chair Brad Sperling’s comment that municipal governments are the “low man on the totem pole” when it comes to implementing marijuana regulations, Zimmer said he felt to the contrary about the powers of local governments. “Municipalities have a whole bunch of authority,” said Zimmer. “If you’re concerned about cannabis, if you want to see it dealt with in a certain way, you need to enact your own bylaws to curb some of those concerns until they’re met.”

The public meeting will be held at the Taylor District Office on Monday, January 22nd at 5:00 p.m.