British Columbia

Dana Larsen welcomes Vancouver marijuana regulations, has some concerns

Sensible B.C. director Dana Larsen says regulations are needed, but he has some concerns the regulations could force businesses to close. A public hearing on the new rules takes place at city hall tonight.

Marijuana advocate supports rules, would like to see some changes

Sensible B.C. director Dana Larsen would like to see the City of Vancouver loosen proposed rules that restrict medical marijuana dispensaries' proximity to community centres and schools. (CBC)

The City of Vancouver is set to hold its first pubic hearing on proposed regulations for the booming medical marijuana dispensary industry tonight.

Proposed within the regulations are a $30,000 licensing fee, restrictions on business opening within 300 metres of a school or community centre, and a three-stage city review. Marijuana activist Dana Larsen welcomes the new rules for the city's dispensaries despite the fact that they could force one of his two stores to close.

"One of our places, we're pretty close to a community centre, and it could mean we're going to have to move, it could mean we're going to have to close down," he said to host Rick Cluff on CBC Radio One's The Early Edition

"Nevertheless, I still welcome these regulations and this process they're putting in place, even though it's going to be a big hassle for a lot of dispensary operators."

Ottawa to blame?

While critics argue that the city should not be regulating the sale of an illegal substance, Larsen places the blame for the proliferation of Vancouver's more than 90 dispensaries at the feet of the federal government and its medical marijuana program.

"If the federal government wants to stop every dispensary in Vancouver, it's easy to do. All they have to do is create a federal medical marijuana program that works. [One] that provides higher quality, lower priced, wider variety of products than we can sell in our dispensaries, and we'll go out of business," he said. 

"But the fact that they haven't is what gives us the opening to continue working."

Officials with the Vancouver Police Department's organized crime and drug sections will be on hand at tonight's meeting to answer questions from the public. 

The medical marijuana regulation public hearing takes place at Vancouver City Hall tonight starting at 6 p.m. PT.

To hear the full interview with Dana Larsen, listen to the audio labelled: Cannabis entrepreneur welcomes new dispensary regulations, has some concerns.

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