Pubdate: Wed, 27 Jan 2016
Source: Chilliwack Progress (CN BC)
Copyright: 2016 The Chilliwack Progress
Author: Tom Fletcher
Referenced: Google features pot-themed Kootenay mountain names:


With unlicensed marijuana dispensaries popping up in urban areas and 
thousands of unregulated medical licences for home growing still in 
legal limbo, the Trudeau government is starting work on its promise 
to legalize recreational use.

Marijuana was a media darling in the recent election, but meeting in 
Vancouver with provincial ministers last week, federal Health 
Minister Jane Philpott found herself preoccupied with issues deemed 
more urgent.

These include shifting our post-war acute hospital model to community 
primary care, tackling aboriginal health care needs, pooling 
pharmaceutical purchases to slow rising costs, and meeting an urgent 
Supreme Court of Canada directive to legalize assisted dying.

At the closing news conference in Vancouver, Philpott was asked how 
recreational marijuana should be sold. Licensed medical growers want 
exclusive rights do it by mail as permitted by the Harper government, 
another measure forced by our high court. That would shut out the 
rash of supposedly medical storefronts, which city halls in Vancouver 
and elsewhere imagine they can regulate.

Philpott said the question is "premature" and federal-provincial 
justice ministers were dealing with it at their meeting. Ottawa will 
have a "task force" too.

Vancouver descended into a pot store free-for-all due to benign 
neglect from council and police, and Victoria isn't far behind. 
Vancouver Coun. Kerry Jang, a rare voice of reason in the Big Smoke, 
has protested dispensaries using street hawkers to attract young 
buyers, and pot stores setting up near schools.

Other communities, more aware of their limitations, have resisted 
issuing business licences. One recent proposal in the Victoria suburb 
of View Royal came from a fellow who insisted marijuana extract had 
cured his cancer. This is typical of claims that proliferate on the 
Internet, and is one of many warning signs about dispensaries that 
put up red cross signs to sell pot products with exotic names.

B.C. Health Minister Terry Lake was more forthcoming a few days 
earlier, responding to a Vancouver reporter who judged marijuana more 
interesting than his just-announced plan to hire 1,600 more nurses by 
the end of March.

Lake noted that Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne is keen to sell 
marijuana through the province's monopoly liquor stores. B.C.'s 
government liquor store union has also endorsed this idea, forming an 
unlikely alliance with non-union private stores to get in on the action.

"There are public health officials that I've talked to who say that 
the co-location of marijuana and liquor sales is not advisable from a 
public health perspective," Lake said. "I think whatever we do it has 
to be highly regulated, quality control has to be excellent and above 
all we must protect young people."

Yes, liquor stores check ID. But the notion that marijuana might be 
sold next to beer and vodka in government stores deserves sober 
second thought, and serious scientific work of the kind that has 
shown damage to developing brains from teenage marijuana use.

Of course all of this urban hand-wringing over pot stores ignores the 
de facto legalization that has existed across B.C. for decades.

The Nelson Star had a funny story last week about a local woman's 
discovery on Google Earth. Zooming in on area mountains, one finds 
not only the Purcell landmark Loki Peak, but also Weed Peak, Grow Op 
Peak, Cannabis Peak and Hydroponic Peak.

Whatever the source of this cyber-prank, it could also be applied to 
other regions of B.C.

For the record, I'll restate my long-standing position that 
legalization is the only logical answer. I'll say the same about 
other drugs that drive most B.C. crime, but that's a subject for another day.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom