Pubdate: Thu, 08 Jun 2017
Source: Prince Albert Daily Herald (CN SN)
Copyright: 2017 Prince Albert Daily Herald
Author: Jason Kerr
Page: A1


City starts preparing for marijuana laws, which are likely to change
in 2018.

The federal government is one year away from legalizing marijuana, but
city council is already taking steps to prepare for the change.

On Tuesday, Ward 6 Coun. Blake Edwards brought forward a motion asking
for city administrators to submit a report the potential implications
of the new law. The report will cover issues like business licenses,
grow-ops, operating hours and business locations.

Edwards says he's already fielding calls from residents inquiring
about business licenses for when marijuana becomes legal, and he wants
the city to be prepared when the day comes.

"This is an unknown area, so this is why I'm asking administration to
start diving into it a little bit," he explained during an interview
on Wednesday. "There are already cities researching. I know that
cities are consulting back and forth, and P.A. needs to be involved in
those consultations, if they're not already."

Edwards said he's particularly concerned about how many marijuana
vendors will be allowed to operate in the city, as well as where
they'll be located. He also has concerns about grow-ops, which he
wants the city to bar completely.

"Grow-ops, to me, are just going to open it up and it's not going to
be easily controlled," he said. "The police are going to have
difficulty with that, and that's my major concern."

Edwards added that he thinks allowing grow-ops will make it too easy
for vendors to lace marijuana with crystal meth, fentanyl or other

Ideally, he's hoping council can use the report to develop core laws
necessary for business owners to sell their product.

However, residents shouldn't expect administration to produce such a
report any time soon.

The city is limited in what changes they can make until further
legislation comes down the line from the provincial and federal

Ward 8 Coun. Ted Zurakowski was one of three councillors who spoke in
favour of Edwards' motion on Tuesday. He said municipalities should
start prying as much information out of the federal and provincial
governments as they can.

"When it comes to bylaws and zoning, that conversation needs to start
and needs to continue," he said. "We need to push the feds as to what
their plans are."

Some Canadian cities are already selling business licenses to
distribute marijuana for medicinal purposes. In Vancouver, for
example, you can legally sell Marijuana in a for-profit store,
provided you buy a $30,000 license from the city.

Mayor Greg Dionne said some cities are still considering whether to
allow the sale of marijuana inside municipal limits, but it's too
early to speculate on whether that will happen in Prince Albert.

The federal government is expected to legalize the sale and
consumption of recreational marijuana by July 1, 2018.
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