Pubdate: Thu, 05 May 2016
Source: Barrie Advance, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2016 Metroland Printing, Publishing and Distributing

We See It This Way ...


The Liberals' election promise to legalize marijuana use will take 
legislative form in about a year, but few entrepreneurs seem prepared to wait.

Apparently, dispensaries are springing up like, well, buds in 
Toronto, just as they have in Vancouver. The CBC reports that along 
one stretch of the Danforth alone, three dispensaries have sprouted 
in recent weeks.

Similar facilities have also opened on Barrie's Dunlop Street.

It seems there's a greater demand for medical marijuana than most of 
us imagined.

Or maybe something else is going on.

A CBC reporter recently visited a dispensary without a prescription 
and found there was no obstacle to purchasing pot.

Many of the new businesses are taking advantage of a grey area that 
exists in an industry that (at least for now) is supposed to be 
exclusive to medical users. They have doctors standing by, prepared 
to supply prescriptions.

This phenomenon is a consequence of the federal Liberals' promise to 
legalize, but with Ottawa's guidelines still a year away, it might 
fall to municipalities to regulate and police these new dispensaries.

That will require determination, time and resources - qualities local 
councils may or may not want to supply.

It would be easy, as NDP leader Tom Mulcair suggests, to simply 
declare pot legal and then deal with the sticky issues of production, 
distribution and policing afterwards, but anarchy would result.

As Bill Blair, parliamentary secretary to the justice minister, said 
during a trip to the United Nations in New York, it's vital that the 
government get legalization right.

"We're looking at regulations with respect to production, 
distribution, the retail and consumption of marijuana, and we want to 
make sure that it's based on the best advice from experts," Blair 
told reporters.

Even a year's wait opens the door to who knows how many dispensaries. 
Some may respect the laws governing medical pot, others not so much. 
Regardless, both business owners and consumers are counting on 
pending legalization to inspire lawmakers and police to look the other way.

It will be interesting to see if they do.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom