Cannabis Causes Problems for Vancouver Sikh Temple

A Sikh temple and a bhangra dance studio are complaining about dispensaries in the area.


By Cloe Logan

A Sikh temple and a bhangra dance studio are complaining about dispensaries in the area because they fear they will attract intoxicated people to the temple and the smell of marijuana will stop parents bringing their children to the studio.

The Khalsa Diwan Society Vancouver Sikh temple, located on the corner of Marine Drive and Ross St., is 150 metres from the location of a future dispensary.

Pall Singh Beesla, outreach coordinator and treasurer of the temple, said he fears a dispensary could increase the number of people that come to the temple’s free meal programs while under the influence of drugs — an act that is strictly forbidden by temple protocol.

“We serve citizens from multiple backgrounds. As long as citizens respect the grounds, they are welcome to a free meal,” he said.

Problems following sober requirement

Beesla said he worries problems the temple has had with visitors who refuse to follow the society’s sober requirement will increase once there is a dispensary close by.

“Having a dispensary distributing narcotics in close proximity, we fear will compound these issues,” Beesla said.

Beesla took his concerns to the Vancouver Police Board on Feb. 15, but says no action was taken by city officials.

Jatinder Randhawa works at the Vancouver bhangra school Shan-e-Punjab Arts Club on Main St. and 51st Avenue. The school is next door to a dispensary called Weeds, which has been open for two years.

Randhawa said he has respect for the dispensary’s business, but does not think his neighbourhood is the right place for it. Randhawa said the smell of marijuana comes into the dance studio, and that parents are skeptical about bringing their children because it is next to a dispensary.

“These types of shops shouldn’t be open in community neighbourhoods. The government says smoking [marijuana] isn’t allowed in public places. Why are they putting it right in the middle of a neighbourhood?” Randhawa said.

Working with communities

Rielle Capler, UBC cannabis and drug policy researcher, said it is important not to judge all dispensaries because of the ones that refuse to consider their aromas. Capler said it is essential dispensaries work together with communities to establish strong relationships.

“Dispensaries have been shown to reduce crime in neighbourhoods,” Capler said.

“The theory is the more foot traffic the better. There is no proof of them increasing crime.”







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