Medical marijuana dispensers look to Kimberley

Another medical marijuana business presents plan to Kimberley Council

Ever since granting a business license for Tamarack Dispensaries — which will sell medical marijuana tinctures and edibles for those with prescriptions — Kimberley has been attracting a lot of attention and interest from those looking to set up medical marijuana businesses.

Mayor Don McCormick says he has been fielding a lot of calls, from those looking to set up businesses, and from other municipalities looking for advice on how Kimberley went about granting a business license when federal law is a grey area.

“We’ve had phone calls,” McCormick said. “A couple of municipalities have asked for details and background. We’re not the only community grappling with this.”

At City Council on Monday evening, Council heard from a delegation looking to set up another medical marijuana dispensary. DBA Kimberley Botanicals is looking to sell oils, creams, salves and the dried product — no edibles.

McCormick says that Council listened to the business plan but made no decision.

“They didn’t ask for a business license,” he said. “They have a plan but there was no specific ask.”

In any event, McCormick says it will be somewhat familiar territory for Council as they have just dealt with Tamarack Dispensaries. But Council may not be ready to grant another business license for another medical marijuana dispensary.

“My feeling, and I haven’t polled Council yet, is we want to give Tamarack some time so we can learn from them.”

Kimberley was the first municipality in the province to grant a business license to a business of this type but McCormick says it was simply done to support a local entrepreneur.

“We are not advocating for the industry, just following a request for support from a local business.

“It really is a grey area. The police have chosen not to enforce it, particularly in Vancouver, because the courts have not moved to convict on these charges. The police are not taking action and municipalities are generally turning a blind eye to these businesses operating without a license. Until there is a clear, legislative direction, that is likely to continue.”

A few days after Kimberley granted the business license to Tamarack Dispensaries, Vancouver City Council announced it would deal with the issue through bylaws, which McCormick said he was glad to see.

While Kimberley issuing the business license was duly noted around the province, McCormick says it’s really not a big deal.

“The business license is a recognition that a business is being allowed to open. There is no legality around it. It is representative of a business’s legitimacy.”

As for a number of medical marijuana dispensaries potentially wanting to set up in Kimberley, they will be dealt with on a business by business basis, though McCormick says competition is not really an issue.

“An awful lot of this business is done through mail order. Even if we had half a dozen of them in the community, much is mail order. It’s big business. I read the other day that there are 50,000 people in Canada with prescriptions for medical marijuana. That’s a big number.”