A would-be Langley cannabis retailer is collecting signatures on a petition to ask the City and Township to speed up making regulation for legal pot shops.
Randy Caine, owner of the Hempyz hemp-themed stores, has been collecting signatures in downtown Langley City at McBurney Lane and in his two local stores.
Since legalization last October and later provincial regulations were released, each municipality has been allowed to create its own rules for pot sales.
Langley Township voted in May to seek public input and begin the process of planning for retail marijuana rules. The City has not yet begun a process.
So far in the Lower Mainland, there are legal marijuana outlets in Vancouver, and one recently opened in Chilliwack. Other than that mail order is the only legal outlet.
“Where are people getting their cannabis at this moment? And the answer is off the street,” Caine said.
Caine admits he would like to open his own cannabis outlet, in the space next to the Hempyz on the one-way section of Fraser Highway.
But he said the main issue is law and order, and getting pot out of the hands of organized criminals. Caine said he certainly couldn’t serve every recreational cannabis user in Langley.
Statistics Canada surveys show that about 15 per cent of Canadian adults use cannabis, and there are more than 160,000 people in the City and Township.
Caine points out that if there are 100,000 adults in the Langleys, that means 15,000 customers for legal cannabis.
Rules around recreational marijuana are at top of mind for the City council, said City administrator Francis Cheung.
That said, the council is taking a wait-and-see approach for now.
“Council has been waiting for new legislation regarding edibles,” Cheung said.
The federal government announced this spring that new edible cannabis legislation will come into force on Oct. 17, with edibles potentially appearing on store shelves sometime in mid-December.
City politicians are also hoping that the province will share some of the revenue from marijuana sales and taxes with municipalities, to cover local costs such as inspecting and regulating home-based personal growing, allowed under last year’s federal legislation.
A community survey is planned for later this year, and it is likely the City will ask its residents how they feel about retail cannabis, and if it is allowed, where it should be located.
There is no time frame for creating local bylaws, Cheung said.
“A lot of that depends on what the province the feds come up with,” he said.