Legislation to legalize recreational use of marijuana will be tabled next spring and many are excited but there are some details need to be ironed out as marijuana retail becomes a new an industry.
Murray Davison, executive director of the Old Strathcona Business Association, says there are a number of paraphernalia stores quite close to each other on Whyte already but he hasn’t heard any of those stores say they are going to sell legal pot.
“We will get some kind of notification from the city or the development officer who is going to be issuing a development permit and business license and those types of things,” explains Davison. “We haven’t heard anything yet but talking with the community, we’re trying to get ahead of this stuff and it is definitely on our radar.”
Davison hopes a system is set up similar to the bylaw for liquor stores.
“We would hope too that they follow a similar process to the alcohol sales and things,” explains Davison. “Where they are no less than 500 metres apart.”
He says the area has always had a mix of stores, restaurants and entertainment, expecting marijuana to just add to the nightlife of Whyte Avenue.
“There is room for everything if we look at the business mix of certain areas but right now they (marijuana paraphernalia stores) stick out like a sore thumb,” explains Davison. “As legalization comes in too it won’t be so noticeable or unacceptable to some people, you know, people used to complain about tattoo shops, now they’re everywhere.”
Davison says they hoping to expand the business mix to make other areas of Whyte more popular, like the stretch between 104 Street and 106 Street.
“As these new developments come in it will add to heading further west, it is very helpful there, and we’ve already seen some changes east as the tracks were let out and now more restaurants are starting to pull people that way,” explains Davison. “I think you’ll see what a lot of people consider the core of Whyte Avenue to be spread out over the next few years.”
Last Wednesday, Health Minister Jane Philpott told the United Nations at a special session on drugs at the General Assembly in New York Canada’s approach to legalization will ensure marijuana is kept out children’s hands, and will address the devastating consequences of drugs and drug-related crimes.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his liberals campaigned on legalizing and regulating recreational use of marijuana, stating Canadians would benefit from analyzing the experiences of Colorado and Washington State. (twd)