Pubdate: Fri, 26 Aug 2016
Source: Penticton Western (CN BC)
Copyright: 2016 Penticton Western
Author: Dale Boyd


Proponents of medical marijuana are planning a rally in Penticton as
the issue makes its way through federal and local governments.

A rally is being held at Gyro Park on Sept. 4 at 2 p.m. Anyone with an
interest is invited to attend and the rally hopes to raise awareness
and promote facts surrounding the issue.

"We're hoping to raise awareness around the benefits, why we chose
(medical marijuana) and why there's a community of people that would
like to have this as a choice," said Jo Scofield, a Penticton resident
and medical marijuana advocate. "You can chose not to (use medical
marijuana) just as equally, but we'd like that right to be

Scofield said she is a third-year anthropology student who is
transferring to school in the Okanagan, as well as a blogger. Scofield
uses medicinal marijuana for pain management in relation to serious
injuries she suffered.

"The recent legislation that suggests a federal program hasn't
benefitted provincial patients," Scofield said. "There seems to be a
public misconception that the legislation being passed benefits all
patients. So we'd like to raise awareness that it doesn't and the need
for a provincial program."

The issue is high on the agenda for the annual Union of B.C.
Municipalities convention in September.

Penticton city council is still in the midst of a 60-day inquiry into
local regulations after shutting the doors of three local
dispensaries, as they look to cities like Victoria and Vancouver which
have adopted local regulations.(read more: Penticton shuts down pot

Vernon council voted down a proposal to develop its own bylaw
regulating dispensaries. A staff report advised councillors that
business licences have not been issued because storefront sales remain
illegal in Canada. (read more: Vernon won't restrict pot shops)

"I'm hopeful that the landscape for this issue will change
dramatically in less than a year. I'm hopeful that by raising
awareness for the need for a provincial program, even something in the
interim, that provincial patients aren't denied medical products
which, by becoming available, increase their quality of life. So, it's
about equality of access," Scofield said.

Scofield said she is currently in the process of putting together
facts for suggested provincial legislation, and hoping to crowdsource
feedback and suggestions on prospective laws that will be proposed to
the province.

"That will be a combination and adaptation of existing legislation
around tobacco regulation and pharmaceutical advertising," Scofield

Nelson recently saw its eighth pot store open without a business
license as it considers similar regulations as well.

- -With files from Tom Fletcher
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