A group of residents in the Oxford Street area of Halifax are calling on the municipality to reject an occupancy permit for a new vapour shop in the area.
The former Ardmore Grocery & Variety storefront space is currently sitting vacant. However, upon investigation, residents say they’ve learned the new owner hopes to use the space to sell cannabis products once it becomes legal next year.
“We realized that something was going on across the street in the last number of weeks because people were building in there at night under the cover of darkness,” said Wendy Ward.
“We heard from our councillor, Mr. Cleary, that the permit is being held because the person who is operating the establishment across the road has indicated that he was going to sell marijuana.”
Ward said their intention is not to protest vaping or cannabis use, however, they do feel it’s an inappropriate business to open in a family-friendly, residential neighbourhood.
“We’re concerned not so much with what they’re selling, but the fact that they are going to be selling something that is not a good lifestyle choice for children,” she said, adding that Oxford Street is used as a main thoroughfare for children heading to area schools.
Under the current federal law, only licensed producers are legally permitted to grow and sell cannabis products. There are currently none in Nova Scotia.
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Halifax Regional Municipality spokesperson Brendan Elliott was able to confirm that they’ve received an occupancy permit for the address, however, no decision has been made.
“We need more information to determine exactly what is being sold out of that store,” said Elliott.
“Bottom line for us is if they’re selling anything illegal, we will not grant an occupancy permit.”
Public consultations are currently underway to guide the province on issues such as where cannabis products will be sold once it’s legalized.
“We’ve seen other provinces roll out what they plan to do, now we’re waiting for what Nova Scotia plans to do and we’ll act in step with what they say,” said Elliott.
The petition is calling for the municipality to “reject any permit application that includes the displaying, promoting, selling, renting, leasing, gifting or loaning of any paraphernalia designed and used, in whole or in part to deliver cannabis or other vaping products.”
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