Pubdate: Wed, 17 Feb 2016
Source: Victoria News (CN BC)
Copyright: 2016 Black Press
Author: Pamela Roth


The City of Victoria is pushing to get regulations in place for 
medical marijuana businesses as more stores continue to sprout 
throughout the region, even though they're illegal.

City staff have been working with officials in Vancouver (which is 
facing the same problem) to put together a list of a dozen proposed 
regulations to license the dispensary operators. The city is now 
asking for public feedback through an online survey, open house and 
town hall meeting.

Currently, there are an estimated 30 medical marijuana-related 
businesses in Victoria, 26 of which are operating as storefront 
medical marijuana retailers.

"We won't try and shut them down. We'll say here is the process for 
getting a license," said Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps. "Without 
regulations, anyone can do anything and that's not appropriate...I 
would like to see it sooner than later so we can get a handle on the 

Medical marijuana dispensaries have been popping up throughout B.C., 
prompting communities to call for local authorities to regulate them.

When it comes to policing, officers in Victoria have had ongoing 
conversations with dispensary operators, reminding them that there is 
always a risk the business could be enforced. It's still a grey area, 
however, whether it would result in criminal charges given the 
federal government's plan to legalize marijuana.

Dieter MacPherson, executive director of the Victoria Cannabis Buyers 
Club, said the city's proposed regulations are a step in the right direction.

There are, however, a few concerns around restricting edible products 
and on-site consumption.

"A great deal of our membership is over the age of 50. They are 
non-smokers so they consume alternative forms," said MacPherson. 
"Many of them consume baked goods as part of their regiment to manage 
whatever ailment they have. This would impact them if they were to 
limit it to just oils."

MacPherson expects the proposed regulations will likely reduce the 
number of dispensaries operating in the city and spread the remainder 
out. They will also provide a set of security requirements for the 
public so they know the businesses are operating safely.

During a three-month period last year, there were three armed 
robberies at medical marijuana stores in Victoria. One of the major 
risks for the dispensaries, noted MacPherson, is that they are an 
all-cash business.

An open house will be held at city hall on Feb. 22 from 6 p.m. to 7 
p.m., followed by a town hall meeting. The online survey will be 
posted at until Friday, March 4.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom