Pubdate: Fri, 27 Jan 2017
Source: Nelson Star (CN BC)
Copyright: 2017 Black Press
Author: Tom Clegg


In Canada we are ruled by law, not by those who enforce the law or
wield government power.

Council must abandon the idea that laws can be enforced selectively
according to the whim or discretion of city staff or officials.
Similarly, a law cannot be considered "temporary" unless it specifies
an expiry date or condition.

Here is another feature of Canadian law that's not about to change: A
municipal government does not have legal authority to regulate
cannabis per se.

Copying the federal medical cannabis regulations and pasting them into
our own bylaws, as proposed, would be an embarrassing and expensive
exercise in futility much like Montreal's failed attempt to duplicate
federal prostitution laws, or New Westminster's failed attempt to
force pawnbrokers to report detailed transaction records.

Nelson is not a country or a province, and shouldn't try to act like

Our municipal government's role in cannabis legalization is to help
our community benefit from it.Councillors rightly point out that our
famous underground cannabis economy is unjust because it doesn't pay
enough tax.

This injustice will exist until all cannabis businesses are taxed and
regulated with rates and restrictions similar to comparable businesses
like pubs, liquor stores, breweries, and pharmacies. As a business
community that must be our goal - anything else is hypocrisy.

Some of these businesses are in commercial properties right now, which
means they are already contributing to our property tax revenue.

Surely we should encourage that trend - but the latest bylaw proposal
is rather discouraging.

City Council should not pass laws that punish businesses for selling
the wrong kind of product, nor should it waste time on schemes to
reinforce, change, or postpone federal laws. These are unlawful and
they won't work.

Cannabis will continue to be exactly as legal in Nelson as it is
elsewhere in BC. Legalization will come with opportunity for us as
well as cost.

Let's not squander the opportunity by trying to delay it, or preparing
for some wild-west zombie apocalypse.

Tom Clegg

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MAP posted-by: Matt