Pubdate: Thu, 30 Mar 2017
Source: Nanaimo News Bulletin (CN BC)
Copyright: 2017, BC Newspaper Group


It's high time for federal pot laws and it's been high time for awhile

Canadians were probably anticipating the Liberal government to move
more quickly on a campaign promise to legalize, regulate and restrict
access to marijuana. Finally, we've been told that pot will be legal
by July 1, 2018.

In the meantime, we'll continue to be something of a wild west for
weed, and that's created challenges.

Since the federal government came to power in the fall of 2016, the
expectation of legalization has brought about complications. Laws
against dealing and possessing weed remain in place, alongside a
scattered strategy of ignoring, regulating or raiding dispensaries, or
an unpredictable combination of those approaches.

Just this month, we've been dealing with a couple of different weed
woes in Nanaimo. Island Health decided it should be regulating edible
pot as a foodstuff. The health authority is on the mark, but to carry
out its intentions, it needs to try to enforce its regulations on
unlicenced businesses dealing drugs in a hazy legal limbo. Then this
week, pot talk was passed around the council table as city councillors
discussed the merits of a 'good neighbour' agreement to guide
dispensary issues such as location, consumption and odours. Most
dispensaries are already good neighbours - just as long as we're OK
with shady dealings going on next door. A gentleman's agreement would
have some appeal, except that it could be seen to legitimize these

Community responses are being left to local governments, health
authorities and police precisely because decision-making has been
downloaded. It's no wonder cities are handling things differently.
It's no wonder communities are experiencing the same sort of problems,
and unique ones. It's no wonder there's confusion.

Between now and July 1, 2018, the feds need to keep Canadians in the
legalization loop through every step of the process, as fully and
completely as reasonably possible. It's our communities that are being
asked to cope with lawlessness, so we should be among the first to
know what the laws will look like.
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MAP posted-by: Matt