Pubdate: Wed, 08 Mar 2017
Source: Victoria News (CN BC)
Copyright: 2017 Black Press
Author: Kendra Wong


Despite promises to legalize marijuana, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
took a tough stance on current marijuana regulations, saying "the law
remains the law" during a visit to Esquimalt Thursday.

"We are moving forward on a framework to regulate and control
marijuana, to protect our kids and keep our communities safer from
criminals and organized crime," Trudeau said while he was at CFB Esquimalt.

Marijuana regulations have been in the spotlight over the past year,
especially in Victoria, where roughly 35 marijuana dispensaries have
sprouted. But marijuana regulations have been a grey area for the City
of Victoria, as with many other municipalities, with mayor and
councillors wondering if it's necessary to impose new regulations if
the drug will be legalized in the coming months.

Despite concerns, city council approved a number of new rules to
regulate the booming industry in September, including restrictions on
age and hours of operation, no on-site consumption and a ban on
advertising. Dispensaries must also obtain a $5,000 business licence
and pass a $7,500 rezoning process to operate legally.

Last month, the city also voted to send one of the first marijuana
dispensaries to public hearing. Other public hearings are expected to
follow suit as 16 of the 25 dispensaries in operation have applied for
rezoning and 29 have applied for business licenses.

According to Trudeau, the move to regulate marijuana was to protect
children, and take the billions of dollars that criminal organizations
and street gangs are pocketing through the sale of the drugs, and
direct them into a system that can be monitored, taxed and used to
support people who are facing drug use challenges.

But until that framework is established, marijuana remains illegal in

"Until we have brought in legislation and move forward with a
framework to do those two things, the current law remains the law,"
Trudeau said, adding the federal government hopes to bring in
legislation before the summer.

"I cannot stress enough that until we have a framework to control and
regulate marijuana, the current law applies."

Trudeau said there are currently no plans to legalize other illicit

As part of his one-day visit to Victoria, the prime minister also went
for a run with Canadian Forces members, along with Minister of
National Defence Harjit Sajjan. Following the run, Trudeau toured CFB
Esquimalt, HMCS Ottawa and HMCS Chicoutimi and met other Forces members.

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps also had the opportunity to meet with
Trudeau at City Hall later the same day, amidst a couple of hundreds
of protestors, some protesting the Kinder Morgan Pipeline and
electoral reform, among other things.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Matt