WATCH: Despite $35,000 in city fines, the owner of Terp City says his lounge isn’t going anywhere. He argues the clean air bylaw and smoking bans in most apartments, have left his customers with nowhere else to smoke. Isabelle Raghem reports.
Majick Stirling is a medical marijuana user. She’s also a regular at Terp City Canna Lounge in Victoria.
“You need this in the community. Not everyone is allowed to smoke at home,” says Stirling.
She says lounges are needed since the Capital Regional District added cannabis to its anti-smoking regulations. It bans smoking in most public spaces.
“We have safe consumption sites for people who are using other drugs, safe consumption sites for alcohol, we need safe consumption sites for cannabis as well”
It’s why some are angry that the City of Victoria is trying to shut it down.
“The bills are stacking up just for this andI’mm like what are we honestly doing wrong,” says Terp City’s owner, Kyle Cheyne.
The owner of Victoria’s only remaining cannabis lounge says his applications for a city business license have been denied and now he’s facing more than $30,000 in fines.
“If you’re gonna start regulating it as a municipality then where are these people, especially for recreational purposes, going to consume it? You’re banning it everywhere,” adds Cheyne.
The city is taking this dispute to court. Victoria’s mayor says despite this particular situation, senior governments will be responsible for the future of lounges.
“There’s does need something to be done for consumption but I can tell you for sure the city will not be going to take a leadership role on consumption. We’ll wait for direction from the province or the federal government,” says Lisa Helps.
Cheyne says he’s not backing down: “I hope that we win this battle and that council understands that we are needed.”
So far the province has said it’s focused on creating the retail cannabis sector first, only then will it consider the issue of consumption spaces.