Pubdate: Wed, 25 Oct 2017
Source: Richmond News (CN BC)
Copyright: 2017, Lower Mainland Publishing Group Inc.
Author: Daisy Xiong


Marijuana will cause problems: Mayor Brodie

Richmond city council voted unanimously to oppose marijuana
legalization and send a letter to the provincial and federal
governments expressing its concerns and requesting "proper"

In the letter, the city will ask for the right to regulate cannabis at
the municipal level, should it become legalized. This would enable the
city to impose stricter rules and regulate it through land-use bylaws.

"If you legalize it, then it's really like saying it doesn't cause
problems when it really does," Mayor Malcolm Brodie told the Richmond

"We recognize the reality that marijuana legalization is going to
happen, but I think it's best to put down our opposition and make it
clear that we need proper regulations."

Brodie said, whether marijuana should be legalized or not is a matter
of personal perspective, but all of Richmond's councillors agree it
should not be.

Discussion and concerns arose around specific issues such as public
safety, the risk of losing agricultural land and the loss of a healthy
community atmosphere. But the main concern raised at the meeting was
the possibility of marijuana becoming a "gateway drug," leading people
to harder and more frequent drug use.

"If you became an alcoholic, I don't think you would start drinking
the hard stuff first. You drink a beer then work your way up," said
Coun. Derek Dang.

"That's what I fearÂ…when people elevate their drug use. We've already
got drug problems with fentanyl, and it could be problematic."

Coun. Harold Steves voiced his concerns regarding the risk of losing
farmland to marijuana-growing businesses during the meeting.

"We should not have farm land which was used for food to grow
marijuana," said Steves.

Richmond is the largest city in the province without a marijuana
dispensary in operation and the city councillors appear to want to
keep it that way.

"We see what's happening in Vancouver; you walk a few steps, and you
see a marijuana store. That's not what we really want to have here,
and it bothers everyone," said Dang.

Coun. Carol Day agrees that the city should be able to control the
number and locations of marijuana stores.

"We require that our zoning can control where, how, and how many
(marijuana stores locate). We don't want it at every corner." said

"We are an urban suburban city, so we don't have some of the same
desire that a big city might have. We prefer to take a more cautious
approach, to make sure we get this right, because we don't want to get
it wrong."

"We are kind of like a bedroom community that way," noted

"Council as a whole agrees it wants to get a handle on this issue so
as to have better control of the situation in the future," added Dang.

The federal government is sticking to its July 2018 deadline for
marijuana legalization. An online survey (
) has been launched by the B.C. government and closes Nov. 1.

The survey seeks input from the public and local governments. A
provincial marijuana act is slated to be ready in spring.
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MAP posted-by: Matt