FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – A local cannabis retailer owner says he is in favour of city council expanding retail cannabis zoning, but only in certain areas.

“Cannabis retail has its place. I don’t believe for a second that it should be anywhere near neighbourhoods and residential housing,” Cannabis Corner owner Danny Lepine stated.

Councillor Byron Stewart has been dead set on council reconsidering cannabis zoning, which has resulted in city staff being directed to gather more information on retailers expanding outside of the downtown core.

Lepine says that if council does decide to change the bylaw, he hopes it follows the guidelines that larger cities have in place.

He adds that he’s in the process of opening a cannabis store in Kelowna and appreciates their bylaws.

“In Kelowna, [cannabis stores] have to be a 500-meter distance from any schools and a 250-meter distance from parks or recreation centers where youth may gather,” Lepine explained.

“I hope that city council goes in that direction. That would ensure that cannabis retail is not going to be sold where there’s a house next door,” Lepine continued.

Lepine also weighed in on the province looking for public input on cannabis consumption spaces.

“I think the cannabis laws in B.C. have been working fairly well since it been legalized. Even though I see the huge increase in people that use cannabis, I don’t see a huge increase of it in public,” Lepine said.

“Cannabis consumption space” is a term for a business or special event that provides cannabis for on-site sale and use, such as cafes, lounges, concerts or festivals, ticketed events and spas.

The province is launching an online public engagement about cannabis consumption spaces to help inform decisions about whether to permit these spaces and how they could be regulated. The engagement will go to May 8, 2022.

If allowed, the province says consumption spaces would need to align with provincial public health and safety objectives.

To learn more and have your say, click here.