Pubdate: Fri, 23 Jun 2017
Source: Prince George Citizen (CN BC)
Copyright: 2017 Prince George Citizen
Author: Jan Manning
Page: 6


Thanks, Neil Godbout, for bringing it up (Citizen editorial, June 15).
Marijuana is about to become a legal, government-regulated
agricultural commodity all across Canada. Mostly, the plant will be
cultivated in large greenhouses. Last week, a large greenhouse in the
Lower Mainland announced it would no longer cultivate peppers but
would switch to growing marijuana. Businesses across every
jurisdiction are maneuvering to take advantage of a rare

This business is coming fast. Last fall, city council heard a bid from
two entrepreneurs ready to set up shop and sell the stuff buy mail.
They offered strong security and carefully laid plans for
distribution, but the location was not approved.

Since that time, another shop was set up here and was swiftly closed
down. Fair enough.

The laws surrounding recreational marijuana use are still in the

We could see the coming legislation of marijuana as a scourge and an
evil, a difficult challenge for everyone. Or we could see the
advantages of this new industry as a challenge for everyone. Or we
could see the advantages of this new industry as a challenge with
international scope.

No one with any business acumen is taking a wait-and-see attitude,
they are already on it. Let's be forward thinking. Let's encourage
city council to get a task force going, to find or make our own
experts in the field. Develop a business plan for growth, regulation,
distribution and attraction of this business to benefit our people.
Growing, harvesting, cleaning, grading, extracting, securing, pricing,
packaging, selling, distributing, inspecting, regulating and policing.
That all means new jobs in a new commerce. We could do very well.

What happens next - and fast - will tell the tale for decade to come.
It's an opportunity for Prince George that will not come around again.
Both medical and recreational uses are in the works. Prince George has
the land base, business climate, educational institutions, health
facilities, the research capabilities of UNBC and people who know how
to cultivate pot, pure and simple.

When it is announced a year from now that marijuana is legal and, if
we are truly ready to roll, we should be able to get a good share of
the tax and sales revenue generated by this industry.

All levels of government have a stake in this and the new rules are
still in limbo.

Now is the time to speak up. Prince George can either turn a blind eye
and say "not in my town" or embrace the challenge and take charge of
our future because the future is coming anyway.

When there is a rumour of a pipeline coming in, we grease the wheels,
offer preferential zoning or tax structures, encourage extraction and
transport support industries, we promote jobs and we make sure we are
ready. When a casino wanted in, the project was encouraged. When the
Canada Winter Games came to town, city council dug right in. Let's set
up a plan to attract business with our thoughtful, regulated,
welcoming, proactive agenda.

We must start today.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Matt