Pubdate: Wed, 18 Jan 2017
Source: Richmond News (CN BC)
Copyright: 2017, Lower Mainland Publishing Group Inc.
Author: Graeme Wood
Page: A3


Richmond is taking a proactive approach to prevent the potential
proliferation of marijuana dispensaries in the city, as was witnessed
in Vancouver over recent years.

Chief licence inspector Carli Edwards, a former City of Vancouver
bureaucrat, identified a gap in the City of Richmond's zoning bylaws,
which do not specifically prohibit the retail sale of cannabis.

On Monday, councillors tentatively approved a bylaw amendment to ban
dispensaries. Edwards' report notes the city can revisit the ban if
the federal government legalizes the use of marijuana.

A federal report with a commitment to introduce legislation on
legalizing marijuana is expected this spring, according to Canada's
Ministry of Justice.

Edwards notes that federal law presently prohibits the retail sale of
cannabis. However, grey areas have emerged in Vancouver where hundreds
of dispensaries have opened, with little enforcement of the matter.

"It is prudent for the city to implement zoning regulations to
prohibit all retailing and/or dispensing of marijuana or cannabis
products city-wide," noted the report.

The Canadian government has created the Task Force on Cannabis
Legalization and Regulation.

A number of issues surround the legalization. The government will need
to address impaired driving regulations; determine how to mitigate
health effects of consumption; and establish a safe medical marijuana

Legalizing marijuana could, theoretically, free up resources in the
justice system. In 2014, half of all drug offences were
marijuana-related and 22,000 people were charged. Legalizing marijuana
would also negatively impact revenue for criminal organizations.
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