Pubdate: Wed, 11 May 2016
Source: Victoria News (CN BC)
Copyright: 2016 Black Press
Author: Kendra Wong


The City of Victoria's decision not to regulate the sale of edible pot
products at medical marijuana dispensaries means more children could
end up in hospital after accidentally ingesting the product, according
to Island Health.

Last Thursday, council voted to allow the sale of edible pot products
in medical marijuana dispensaries, despite health and safety concerns
raised by the province's medical health officer, Dr. Perry Kendall.

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps said it's not the city's job to regulate
what goes into the products.

"We're already doing the work of the federal government. I am very
loathe to take on the work of the provincial government," Helps said.
"It's clearly not our job. We don't regulate prescription drugs, we
don't see what's in each and every pill, that's not our job. It's not
our job to say what's in brownies that are sold in retail outlets in
our city."

However, with no restrictions around the sale of edible pot products,
Island Health's medical health officer Dr. Murray Fyfe said it
increases the likelihood that children will get their hands on the

"A child is naturally attracted to things like cookies, candies and
brownies and they're not going to be able to tell the difference
between one with medical marijuana and one that isn't," Fyfe said,
adding the City of Vancouver recently restricted the sale of edible

Fyfe said there has been research out of the U.S., where a number of
states have legalized medical marijuana, increasing the availability
of edible pot products. As a result, there has been a large increase
in the number of children ending up in the emergency department or
intensive care unit due to cannabis intoxication.

"That's a big concern that we might see something similar here if the
edible products become more available," Fyfe added.

Island Health also has concerns about the potency of edible pot
products. When eating pot products, it could take anywhere from three
to four hours to feel the full effects of it, which could cause people
to ingest more than needed.

"When it does hit them, they're going to be extremely intoxicated from
it," Fyfe said. "When you inhale it and it's a very strong dose, you
can tell very quickly and basically inhale less. You can't do that
with ingested products."

In a separate motion during Thursday's meeting, Helps plans to write
to the chief medical officer of Island Health requesting it ensures
food safe requirements and medical considerations are met for the sale
of edible marijuana products.

But Fyfe said that isn't within Island Health's jurisdiction. The
health authority can monitor how the kitchen operates with respect to
hygiene and cooking practices, but staff don't have the ability to
look at marijuana that might go into some of the products because
there are no standards around non-medical cannabis.

City staff also brought forward other recommendations to regulate
medical marijuana-related businesses.

As part of the regulations, storefront retailers must not be opened
between 8 p.m. and 7 a.m., no individuals under the age of 19 are
allowed, no advertising to promote the use of marijuana to a minor is
allowed, and health and safety warning signs must be posted on the
premises. Marijuana must not be consumed on the premise as well and
the cost to obtain a businesses licence would be between $4,000 to
$5,000. It also keeps marijuana businesses 200 metres apart from each

The bylaws will be brought forward to council again in June.
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