Pubdate: Thu, 25 Jun 2015
Source: Toronto Star (CN ON)
Copyright: 2015 The Toronto Star
Author: Laura Kane
Page: A14


Vancouver has become the first city in Canada to regulate marijuana 
dispensaries, a move that has "deeply disappointed" the federal 
government but was declared a commonsense approach by the mayor.

"We're faced with a tough situation, a complicated situation," Gregor 
Robertson said Wednesday after councillors voted 8-3 to impose new 
regulations. "We have this proliferation of dispensaries that must be 
dealt with."

The city blames Ottawa's restrictive medical pot laws for the rise of 
pot dispensaries - from fewer than 20 just three years ago to 94 today.

On Wednesday Health Minister Rona Ambrose said she was disappointed 
with the decision to regulate an illegal industry.

"Marijuana is neither an approved drug nor medicine in Canada and 
Health Canada does not endorse its use," Ambrose said in a statement. 
"Storefronts selling marijuana are illegal . . . we expect the police 
to enforce the law."

Coun. Geoff Meggs said medical marijuana was not an issue that the 
city wanted to take up, but one it was forced to handle because of 
Ottawa's "backwards" policies.

"Wake up," Meggs said in a message aimed at the federal government. 
"You are completely out of touch with the realities on the ground."

Vancouver Police Const. Brian Montague said the new regulations will 
not change the force's approach to marijuana shops, which are only 
made a priority if there are public safety concerns.
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