Pubdate: Tue, 26 Dec 2017
Source: Metro (Vancouver, CN BC)
Copyright: 2017 Metro Canada
Author: Wanyee Li
Page: 18


Feds have promised a deadline of July 1, 2018

The day marijuana advocates and enthusiasts have long been waiting for
what will come in 2018 - recreational marijuana will be legalized on
Canada Day.

But with federal legislation comes a host of logistical and revenue
issues for provinces and cities across the country. Vancouver may
appear to have a head start, as the city established a licensing
program for marijuana dispensaries in 2015, but it will need to follow
provincial rules on the issue as well.

The B.C. government is promising to introduce a regulatory framework
for recreational marijuana prior to July 1, 2018. It has already
released some details - 19 years of age will be the minimum age of
consumption and purchase, and both private and public stores will be
allowed to sell marijuana.

The province also announced in December it will split revenues from
marijuana sales 75/25 with the federal government - with B.C. getting
the larger share. In addition, B.C. will get all tax revenue collected
after the $100 million mark.

"We negotiated an agreement for B.C. that means the majority of
cannabis revenue will flow to the provinces so we can invest in
programs to keep people safe and remove the criminal element from
cannabis," said provincial Finance Minister Carole James.

But questions remain. Opposition leaders have called for profits to go
toward enforcement and addiction services. Existing
marijuana-dispensary owners - many hold business licences in Vancouver
- - don't know whether they will be allowed to continue after the B.C.
rules come into effect. Event organizers are not sure whether they
will need to apply for permits for marijuana consumption, similar to a
permit they would need for liquor.

Notably, the City of Vancouver did not approve a permit application
for Vancouver's 4/20 rally in 2017, with the park board chair pointing
out that smoking in parks is illegal. The event went ahead at English
Bay anyway, and organizers are waiting to hear if the anticipated
marijuana legislation will affect their fortunes this year.

Meanwhile, at least one municipality is asking the province for more
regulatory power when it comes to recreational marijuana.

Richmond city councillors all voiced concerns in October that the
federal government had not given municipalities enough time to prepare
for marijuana legalization. City council's requests included getting a
share of marijuana sales revenue and allowing landlords to be able to
forbid tenants from smoking marijuana at home.

Sharing responsibility in regulating recreational marijuana will
likely be one of the main challenges facing authorities in 2018.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Matt