Tofino’s first crop of pot shop applications are in.
Tofino’s municipal council is prepared to hand out up to three Temporary Use Permits to cannabis retailers this spring and has received four applications to consider.
Daylight Cannabis Company, Prairie Records, Tuff Leaf and West Coast Cannabis are all hoping to open a pot shop in town and pitches from each company have been published on the district’s website for public review at www.tofino.ca/cannabis.
“We consulted extensively with the public in developing the TUP Policy, now we want to ensure that people can see the applications and have their say so we can have open dialogue about cannabis use and the cannabis industry, learn from each other, and inform the way the District of Tofino makes future decisions about permanent zoning for cannabis businesses,” Tofino mayor Josie Osborne told the Westerly News in an email.
“The legalization of cannabis is a huge change in Canadian public policy and it’s important for Tofino residents and stakeholders to have a voice as cannabis use becomes more open and less stigmatized…We also wanted to use an approach to business regulation that begins to define and encourage social benefit, i.e., an approach to business that is above and beyond maximizing profit, which is a culture that we think Tofino’s entrepreneurs and business owners understand and want.”
All four applications met the district’s criteria to be considered, according to the district’s manager of corporate services Elyse Goatcher Bergmann, who said public comments have been pouring in at an impressive clip since the applications were posted online on March 29 and the district has been “thrilled” with the engagement so far.
“This is the most feedback in this amount of time that I’ve received on anything,” she said. “We’re really happy with the engagement and patience from the public to get this right. Councils policy is meant to balance public input, community benefit and concerns. It’s taken us longer to get here than we anticipated, but the response from the community has been phenomenal and really helped to design a process that fits Tofino.”
The deadline to submit feedback is Thursday, April 16.
All comments are anonymous and will be reviewed by council. Staff will also include the feedback in a report to council in the late spring and letters will be sent to all nearby property owners of each application for further comment before council makes its final decision.
Goatcher-Bergmann added that while the feedback is anonymous, anyone who provides comment will have their computer’s IP address recorded to avoid having one person submit multiple forms.
Each Temporary Use Permit will be valid for three years before being reviewed.
“Tofino Council chose a responsible, cautious approach of using Temporary Use Permits as a way to allow the recreational cannabis industry to emerge and develop while balancing public health concerns—particularly those associated with youth,” Osborne said.
Tofino has also asked its neighbours, the Ahousaht, Hesquiaht, and Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations for comment on the applications.