News / Winnipeg

Conditional use for head shops: Coun. Scott Fielding

A city councillor is mulling bringing forward a motion that would clearly tell head shops where they can set up shop.

Coun. Scott Fielding (St. James-Brooklands), who chairs the Winnipeg Police Board, said he’s in favour of conditional use applications for novelty stores that sell pipes, bongs and rolling papers.

“The conditional use would dictate where they’re able to go and if a public hearing is needed for the equation, so it wouldn’t limit what you can sell,” said Fielding following Friday’s police board meeting.

“At the very least, I think that we need to take a look at where they’re located and specifically not around schools.”

Last week, Metro Winnipeg reported on the arrest of Hemp Haven owner Jeremy Loewen, who said he has a tobacco and business licence, pays his taxes, and most importantly never knowingly sells his wares for use with illegal drugs, thinks his arrest may be part of a wider effort to intimidate similar city shops into shutting their doors.

Another head shop owner, who wished to remain anonymous, agreed with Loewen.

Also on Friday, police issued a statement saying that there is no concerted effort to shut down head shops.

“The Winnipeg Police Service wishes to clarify that there have not been any widespread ‘raids’ targeting these outlets, nor has there been a demand that these businesses cease operations,” said the press release.

“Our goal throughout this process has been to keep the peace, respond to community concerns and to work with local business owners to ensure they are aware of the concerns that have been brought forward.”

Police said only one person has been charged and officers have been going to the stores to discuss complaints from neighbours, school administrators and community groups since the spring of 2013.

— With files from Shane Gibson and Meg Crane

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