Pubdate: Wed, 15 Jun 2016
Source: Metro (Calgary, CN AB)
Page: 4
Copyright: 2016 Metro Canada
Author: Helen Pike


City establishes rules for clinics prescribing marijuana

Calgary has now begun regulating marijuana counselling services, 
sparking debate over fears of what the pot-peddling establishments 
could become.

Medical marijuana counselling services are now required to apply for 
a building permit and ensure they're not within 300 meters of one 
another, while also not being within 150 metres of a school.

These measures were introduced in hopes of getting ahead of what 
some, including mayor Naheed Nenshi, fear could be a crowding out of 
businesses and the tarnishing of neighbourhoods with pot leaves.

Medical dispensaries are illegal, and in Vancouver the local 
government has had hundreds pop up, prompting raids as well as 
retroactive attempts to regulate the storefronts.

"With Vancouver it started out as counselling, and sort of morphed 
into dispensaries, it kind of ended up becoming a runaway train," 
said Calgary police Sgt. Keith Hurley.

He noted the goal with the bylaw was not to prevent people from 
opening up counselling services, but to control signage and community 

"Do we have any land-use bylaw regulations with regards to head 
shops? The sale of medical marijuana paraphernalia?" asked Coun. 
Peter Demong - knowing the answer is: No.

Demong asked if there's a legal ramification about limiting "people talking."

"They're offering marijuana as an alternative," said Sgt. Hurley. "It 
could be very impressionable to certain people who don't have the 
requisite knowledge to understand what the effects of that would be 
.. we want it to be seen as a medical issue, not a recreational issue."

There are two medical marijuana counselling establishments in 
Calgary; they don't sell or distribute the drug, merely administer 
prescriptions from a medical physician.

The vote was 10 for and three against, after a morning of raucous 
debate that at one point had Coun. Diane Colley-Urquhart ready to 
throw in the towel; she said could see there wasn't support for her motion.

In the end, Colley-Urquhart's motion passed. It seemed many 
councillors were swayed by Nenshi's plea to "get ahead" of the issues 
other jurisdictions in Canada are facing surrounding illegal dispensaries.
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