NPA councillor Melissa De Genova calls for closure of all medical marijuana retail stores in Vancouver

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      The Non-Partisan Association has taken another run at the city's handling of marijuana applications.

      Coun. Melissa De Genova has presented a notice of motion calling for "an immediate moratorium on all Development Permit Reviews and processes for Medical Marijuana-Related Uses".

      The motion also calls upon council to "direct staff to proceed with the enforcement of closure orders for all existing medical marijuana-related retail businesses in the City of Vancouver".

      De Genova's motion supports shutting down shops that are in compliance with the city's zoning and development bylaws by the end of April 2016.

      In a news release, De Genova insisted that she supports the federal government taking steps to legalize and regulate marijuana. She also acknowledged that medical marijuana brings relief to people suffering from "a wide variety of conditions ranging from chronic pain to cancer".

      But she claimed that the city's bylaw is "inherently flawed".

      “Last year’s amendments to the zoning bylaw will force the closure of some well-regarded, long-standing, nonprofit compassion clubs that don’t meet the requirements of the city’s new bylaw,” De Genova said. “The city’s bylaw also doesn’t allow for edible marijuana products to be sold, even though the Supreme Court ruled last year that medical marijuana patients have a right to access edibles.” 

      De Genova's motion is on the Tuesday (February 2) council agenda and has been seconded by NPA councillor Elizabeth Ball.

      Earlier this month, NPA school trustee Fraser Ballantyne brought forward a motion dealing with the proximity of medical-marijuana stores to local schools.

      Ballantyne's motion calls on the board chair, Vision Vancouver's Mike Lombardi, to write to Vision Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson to extend the minimum distance from 300 metres to 500 metres.

      De Genova also stated in her news release that she's "concerned about the potential legal and enforcement costs that taxpayers will have to shoulder when the city begins to enforce its new bylaw at the end of April".

      As a result, she argued that it would be best to wait for the federal process to unfold and for the city to try to be granted formal status in the process leading to legalization and regulation of marijuana.