A Langley business owner is asking the City and Township of Langley to change their bylaws banning retail cannabis stores, after accusing both of inadvertently supporting the black market.
Randy Caine co-owns Hempyz along the one-way on Fraser Highway and the location on Willowbrook Drive. Caine has been selling pot accessories for more than a decade.
He's wanted to expand his business to a retail pot shop since legalization last October, but has been stuck behind red tape. He argues local councillors are overstepping their authority.
"Municipally, they have land-use rights. That's where it ends. They make bylaws, they don't create laws," he told CTV News Vancouver.
However, a proposed pot store cannot get a licence until the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch gets a positive recommendation from local government.
But that's a process that gives municipal councils the power to stop an application in its tracks.
The City of Langley's chief administrative officer says the issue is on council's radar.
"We're not dismissing discussing this issue. We're just taking a wait and see approach until the legislation is sort of solidified," said Francis Cheung.
Langley isn't the only municipality that's maintained the prohibition of pot.
The Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch has received 149 applications shops in the Lower Mainland and Sunshine Coast.
Ninety-nine of those were referred to local government, but only 10 per cent ended up with a licence.
"They're continuing to force responsible, law abiding adults, into the hands of organized crime," says Caine.
It's the focus of his online petition, which he presented to the Township of Langley last month, after submitting an application for his Willowbrook Drive store.
His request is on hold while councillors decide whether they will change current bylaws.
The Township of Langley's general manager of community development expects to know more soon.
"On Monday, July 8, Township of Langley Council is expected to be considering a report from staff, with a proposed public engagement strategy, in respect to cannabis retail sale options in the Township," said Ramin Seifi.
The City of Langley also plans to do a survey in the next several months. Caine hopes those councillors will be more receptive to his petition when he presents to them Monday night.
"I know it's going to take a while to get rid of organized crime, and it's hold within this, but we need to start somewhere."