British Columbia

Marijuana activists protest dispensary regulations outside Vancouver City Hall

Marijuana activists angry about Vancouver's new regulations for marijuana dispensaries protested outside City Hall Monday.

'We're protesting the bad side of the regulations,' says Neil Magnuson

Marijuana activists who are angry over Vancouver's new regulations for marijuana dispensaries held a protest outside City Hall on Monday. (Farrah Merali/CBC)

The City of Vancouver hosted its second of three information sessions on Monday for marijuana dispensaries that will be licensed under new rules.

But outside the event at city hall, a group of marijuana activists angry over the new regulations held a protest. 

Robert Moore, one of the protesters, says the city's high permit cost of $30,000 will force the closure of dozens of dispensaries that have been open for years.

"We think that that's not fair for equal rights for cannabis users. That's not equal when the pharmacies are being charged just a couple hundred dollars," he said. 

Protesters were also unhappy with the bylaw that bans the sale of edible marijuana products and the rule that marijuana businesses cannot be within 300 metres of schools and community centres. 

Pot activist Neil Magnuson says he's not against the regulations, but some of them will hamper existing businesses.

"We're protesting the bad side of the regulations. City council believes it's the most forward city in the world with what they're doing here and they could be, but they need to get the regulations right."

Magnuson says the city should pay attention to people from the industry who know what is wrong with the regulations. 

 "They should not be shut down en mass which is what's going to happen and discouraged from helping people."

Andreea Toma, the city's director of licensing, says council tried to be fair to everyone and held public hearings earlier this year before enacting the new bylaws in June.

"I think they struck a balanced approach in taking in safety and producing and equitable and fair business licence category."

The next information hearing is set for Thursday.

With files from Farrah Merali


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