Dozens sign petition against cannabis shop near Vernon seniors’ complex

Click to play video: 'Vernon seniors oppose cannabis shop proposed for their block' Vernon seniors oppose cannabis shop proposed for their block
WATCH: Survey suggests Canadians more uncertain about cannabis – May 13, 2019

Cannabis is legal now but where it’s sold within our communities can still be contentious.

The proposal for a pot shop near a Vernon seniors’ complex has dozens signing a petition against the location.

“It is too close to seniors,” said Alice Heward, who organized the petition and believes the pot shop should be located elsewhere.

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“I’m very against the location and a lot of the people here are. It is just too close to us.”

Heward said some residents already feel uncomfortable in the downtown area at night. She worries a pot shop nearby would only make the situation worse with “the smell of the pot [and] the high people coming around.”
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The 2813A 35 Street location is just off Vernon’s main street, next to a dog grooming business.

However, the owner of that shop is not worried about his potential new neighbour.

“Everybody’s got a right to make a dollar and hopefully it will be just fine,” said Stewart Gladstone of K9 Care and Grooming.

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The city said that because of privacy legislation it can’t say who has applied to open the cannabis business.

However, the city did receive several letters of support that said the ownership group is local and has no involvement in the cannabis grey market. The supporters said the owners are willing to work with neighbouring businesses to make sure any disruption is minimized.

A supportive housing project is under construction just down the street. However, a city councillor with professional experience in addictions recovery is not concerned the proposed cannabis shop is too close to the supportive housing complex, where some residents might be dealing with addictions.

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“Throughout the province of British Columbia we have liquor stores on many corners that are close to addictions recovery homes… They are close to residential supportive housing complexes and it hasn’t really posed an issue. So I don’t think that pot shops will pose a big concern,” city councillor Kelly Fehr said.

Fehr said marijuana packaging regulations should mean the store won’t emit a cannabis smell.

The business is just one of more than a dozen cannabis shops hoping for provincial approval to operate in Vernon, many of which have already received civic support.

The shop proposed for 35 Street is before city council this week. It will need city support to continue with its licensing application.

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