A debate over whether or not automatic cash machines should be allowed in marijuana dispensaries became the focus of council as they mulled the first three readings of three revised business licence bylaws on Tuesday night.
The bylaws include a ban on the cash machines that members of the audience from a local dispensary opposed.
“The reason we have an ATM is because the banks will not allow us a point-of-sale machine, we can’t use debit, we can’t use credit, the only access our patients have is cash, so we are just providing the convenience for them,” Don Fauchon of the Cannabis Growers of Canada told council. He also noted the machines were a separate business with separate owners unrelated to the dispensary.
Councillor Susan Chapelle agreed the machines should be allowed and put forward a motion to pull the ban of the cash machines from the bylaws.
“You can use ATMs, a cash dispensary system at a liquor store or to get any other opioid, to pay for your medication at a drugstore,” she said.
However, the motion failed and the ban is in effect now that the three business licence related bylaws passed, with only Councillor Doug Race opposing because he said he could not support bylaws that allowed an illegal business, marijuana dispensaries.
“There are other good things in these bylaws and the fees and charges and so forth, but the part that I do object to and it will be no surprise to anybody is the references to marijuana dispensaries and so for those reasons – and the fees charged to them as well as the penalties of $100 a day… which is going to be the cost of doing business for some people – I won’t be supporting any of these bylaws,” he said.
The bylaws aim to modernize business licensing in the district and align licensing with zoning, according to district staff. Some highlights include the allowance of a secondary suite and a home-based business at the same residence and opening up licensing for mobile food vendors. The maximum business licence fee is $2,000, other than for marijuana dispensaries, which would pay $5,000.
The district posted information about Squamish’s business licence bylaws at squamish.ca/business-and-development/business-licenses-and-directory/.