Pubdate: Sat, 27 Jun 2015
Source: Globe and Mail (Canada)
Copyright: 2015 The Globe and Mail Company
Author: Stephen Quinn
Note: Stephen Quinn is the host of On the Coast on CBC Radio One, 
88.1 FM and 690 AM in Vancouver
Page: S3


This week Vancouver City Council approved a series of recommendations 
aimed at regulating the growing number of medical marijuana 
dispensaries in the city.

It is a complicated issue, which is why we at the City of Vancouver 
have attempted to address some of your most frequently asked questions:

Is the retail sale of medical marijuana legal in Vancouver as a 
result of council's decision?

There is no legal regime for the retail sale of marijuana in Canada.

People who need marijuana for medicinal purposes and who have a 
prescription may apply to Health Canada to obtain marijuana from a 
federally licensed supplier.

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How is the sale of marijuana in these dispensaries limited to those 
who need it for medicinal purposes?

The standard may vary depending on the dispensary. Some may require 
that you consult in person or via Skype with their "doctor." Others 
may ask you to fill out a form. Still others may give you a pass if 
you look "totally bummed."

That said, we cannot regulate the product since it is illegal. The 
city is primarily concerned with land use and zoning.

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So, it's just like my guy Gary, who I call when I need to score some weed?

Yes, but unlike your guy Gary, none of the dispensaries currently 
offers home delivery.

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Where does the marijuana in these dispensaries come from?

We have no idea. It could be from well-meaning hippies on Saturna 
Island, or it could be grown by a biker gang in Abbotsford. It may 
have been smuggled inside Mexican puppies. We have no way of telling.

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Isn't that a problem? I mean, could you be licensing a business that 
funnels profits back to organized crime or drug cartels?

We can't regulate what they sell, since it's illegal. We can only use 
zoning and land-use bylaws to regulate the businesses.

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But if it's illegal, with the product potentially profiting organized 
crime, why don't you order police to shut them all down?

Dude, you are completely harshing my buzz.

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But seriously, police are supposed to enforce the law, aren't they?

Yes, but police have better things to do with their time than hassle 
those on the side of all that is good and righteous.

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How likely is it that federal Health Minister Rona Ambrose will suit 
up like a Baltimore riot cop, kick in some doors and try to take care 
of this herself?

We think there's about a 50-50 chance of that happening.

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Why has the city restricted the sale of edibles containing marijuana 
and related extracts?

Because edibles like cookies, cotton candy and other brightly 
coloured treats may appeal to children. Also, while we don't mind 
people selling astronomically potent marijuana (which we can't 
regulate because it's illegal), we do have jurisdiction over baked goods.

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Why will non-profit societies and compassion clubs pay $1,000 for a 
business licence, while for-profit ventures will pay $30,000? Since 
we're talking strictly about medical marijuana here, aren't they both 
in the business of providing medicine to people in need?

The fees are based on cost recovery alone. We expect that this will 
be a nightmare for city inspectors and police. Also, $30,000 is 
roughly the cost of a fully dressed Harley-Davidson, if you catch my drift.

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Because these businesses are engaged in the illegal sale of 
marijuana, and because the city accepts a licence fee, could the City 
of Vancouver be charged with benefiting from the proceeds of crime 
and be subject to penalties under the civil forfeiture act with 
Attorney-General Suzanne Anton finally exacting revenge on Gregor 
Robertson by seizing Vancouver City Hall?

We're not ruling it out.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom