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Lynn Valley to get its first cannabis shop

Only one council member voted against the proposal to have a pot shop at Lynn Valley Centre
A Google street view shows the rear side of Lynn Valley Centre, where a proposed new cannabis store will be located. District of North Vancouver council voted Monday night to approve the proposal. | Google Earth

Lynn Valley residents are getting their first local place to (legally) buy cannabis.

District of North Vancouver council voted 5-1 Monday night to approve Nimbus Cannabis’s application to open a store on the east side of Lynn Valley Centre. The store will only be accessible from the exterior of the mall.

Before it came to a vote, more than 50 people wrote to the district raising concerns the pot shop would draw criminal behaviour, influence children in the family-oriented mall and create other nuisances. Submissions from the public at a hearing on Feb. 7 were more weighted toward supporters who were eager to have the legal product made available in their own neighbourhood.

The sentiment was echoed by council.

“Of particular importance to me, I know that there is no cannabis retail in Lynn Valley, and the siting of cannabis retail here will allow persons to purchase cannabis without driving to other centres,” said Coun. Jim Hanson. “I do not believe that the addition of cannabis retail will change the nature of the community character in this location.”

Coun. Lisa Muri said enough time has passed since legalization of cannabis that council need not worry about social ills coming along with new stores.

“Correct me if I’m wrong, but we have had no complaints in any of the facilities that we have approved in the District of North Vancouver, in regards to any issue,” she said. “I have been in the facilities. They are well managed. They are well looked after. They are very professional retail stores with very strict protocols.”

Coun. Herman Mah added that he had seen attitudes toward cannabis change with the times since he was growing up, with greater public acceptance now.

Coun. Betty Forbes was the only council member to vote against the rezoning, based largely on the location on the back side of the mall. Forbes said she would feel better if it were in a more open location, like other stores approved by the district, and added there are other businesses she’d rather see setting up shop in Lynn Valley.

“To be a complete community, we need to have more family-friendly type of businesses there that cater to a larger community,” she said.

Mayor Mike Little supported the Nimbus application though he did add that the black market still seems to be thriving thanks to the taxes on cannabis making it about three times more expensive than products offered by old-fashioned dealers.

“I think the provincial government is going to have to sharpen its pencil about how much money it takes out of the system in order to be able to get the prices down competitive enough so we can actually reduce the incentive to use a personal drug dealer rather than using a properly legislated place that has good upstream controls on the quality of the product.”

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