Green light to grow: When you can shop, plant and smoke marijuana
With Senate approval of Bill C-45, the Cannabis Act, the way is now clear for provincial and civic governments to kick their planning into high gear.
Oct. 17 seems like enough time to sort out the details of exactly how, where and to whom marijuana will be sold, but B.C.’s solicitor general warns there are still a lot of details to work out, and it will likely take several years before everything is truly settled.
“The legalization of cannabis is complex,” Mike Farnworth said in a statement. “The Province is committed to monitoring the implementation and making any adjustments necessary to meet our provincial goals.”
In Vancouver, where bylaw officers have been fining dispensaries that haven’t acquired marijuana licences, city council will hold a public hearing on Tuesday, June 26 for input that’ll go into their final regulations.
“Now that the federal government is moving, we will definitely be able to adapt and shift into a new system here at the city,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson. “We've had to create our own system with dispensaries here to ensure that we had a system that was functional on the ground in Vancouver and still protected kids and made sure we weren't overloaded."
The Vancouver Police Department will be eying those regulations, as well as another bill before the Senate that could clear the way for new technology to identify high drivers.
"We've been investigating drug impairment investigations on the road for years, we've got officers that are trained in field sobriety testing, we've got drug recognition experts,” explained Const. Jason Doucette. “We are going to continue to use those tools that we have at this point and we're going to take advantage of whatever tools we're provided with that are court-approved."
Municipal guidelines will have to fit within the regulations dictated by Ottawa and Victoria, and Farnworth is already warning both licenceless dispensaries and those who paid for a $32,000 licence that they’ll be treated the same as far as the province is concerned.
"There will be an application process where private retailers can apply to have a legal licence to sell cannabis. No existing cannabis retail outlet is going to be grandfathered. They would have to apply like anyone else and there's no guarantee they would in fact get a licence.”