To weed or not to weed? Saanich residents will have their say on a non-medical cannabis retail store proposed for Uptown Shopping Centre with a public hearing.
The B.C. Liquor Distribution Branch applied to open the region’s first BC Cannabis Store in the upper level of the shopping mall. During a meeting at the end of May, Saanich council unanimously supported the application and sent it to a public hearing.
The public hearing takes place via conference call as municipal hall remains closed to the public due to COVID-19. The District tested out the electronic public hearing model on June 2 and Mayor Fred Haynes was pleased with the results.
Haynes said Uptown is the “ideal location” for a BC Cannabis Store. The District previously decided cannabis retail stores should be located near existing liquor stores as the location requirements are similar and Uptown is already home to a liquor store, he explained.
If the dispensary is approved, it would be Saanich’s first. Cannabis is a legal product and residents should be able to access it in Saanich whether it’s for “sleep, health or other reasons,” Haynes said.
Haynes is “interested to hear what the public has to say” but emphasized that he doesn’t anticipate a community issue, adding it would be a “good economic opportunity for Saanich.”
According to a staff report, notices were sent to the Saanich police and fire departments, School District 61 and neighbouring community associations. Both Saanich police and fire replied stating no objections to the dispensary application.