Coquitlam will soon have two cannabis shops in the City Centre neighbourhood.
But one operator has already run into trouble with the law for selling to a minor.
According to a provincial government website, Kansas Enterprises (Franchises) Ltd., which is doing business as The Local Leaf Cannabis, was fined $11,000 in February for selling cannabis or cannabis accessories to a youth at its Terrace store last November.
On Monday, Coquitlam council unanimously gave second and third readings to rezone 109-2957 Glen Dr. for The Local Leaf Cannabis, as well as 103-2700 Barnet Hwy. for KJ’s Best Cannabis, after a public hearing (Coun. Trish Mandewo was not present).
At the 80-minute hearing, where the penalty was not brought up, speakers to the proposed Glen Drive site cited its location within the mixed-use strata building, as well as its possible attraction for area youth.
The unit is close to schools, daycares and family establishments, many speakers noted, and the business would create more traffic, noise and security issues.
“I don’t want any of this stuff in our community,” a Glen Drive resident told council.
Another speaker talked about the number of AirBnBs in City Centre and how the visitors who don’t have cannabis in their home country would “party” out of control.
Other speakers also talked about the long hours at The Local Leaf, while some urged council to only allow the cannabis store proposal for Barnet Highway/Bond Street.
The Local Leaf Cannabis is set to be open 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., with 16 staff in total.
Still, supporters told council that having a dispensary would reduce the black market supply and create economic spin-offs for City Centre with a regulated commodity.
And a handful also spoke of the applicant’s history with cannabis shops around B.C.
A spokesperson for The Local Leaf vowed the business would work with neighbours to mitigate concerns; a petition with 285 signatures backing the shop was presented.
The federal Liberal government legalized recreational cannabis in October 2018.
But the stigma still exists, said Coun. Teri Towner who moved the two bids forward.
“Back when Prohibition was lifted, I’m sure there were people at public hearings that existed back in the day who were really upset that alcohol could now be consumed,” she said, adding, “There a Browns [restaurant] right across the street [on Glen Drive] to drink right on the boulevard, and there’s a liquor store just a stone’s throw away.
“It’s another substance that, at one point in time, was illegal for consumption.”
Coun. Steve Kim, who seconded Towner’s motion, said cannabis can alleviate pain, and it appropriate to have a dispensary in the city’s core that’s close to residential homes.
Coun. Dennis Marsden told Kansas Enterprises it had delivered a “solid presentation” before council; however, he told company officials they have to deliver on their promises.
“Our city has been hesitant to go in this direction, slower to get to here because we wanted to watch what others are doing and do it right,” he said. “We believe we’ve landed in a good spot with our regulations…. I wish you well with your new venture.”
Meanwhile, next month, council will consider more dispensaries for other Coquitlam neighbourhoods: one in each of Burquitlam, Lougheed, Austin Heights and Maillardville.