Pubdate: Thu, 15 Feb 2018
Source: Record, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2018 Lower Mainland Publishing Group Inc.


B.C.'s approach to the issue seems prudent to most observers and is
based on some of the lessons learned in other jurisdictions. Marijuana
will be legal, but it won't be a total free-for-all, either.

Much to the relief of local politicians, municipalities will have a
big say about who gets one of the coveted provincial pot shop licences.

That means those operators who have been the subject of court action,
or who've caused major headaches where they've set up in advance of
the legal starting line might not be at the front of the line.

A number of regulations also set out fairly strict oversight on who's
allowed to be involved in the pot business, with the goal of keeping
out organized crime. Key to that, however, will be

The issue of criminals using legal "fronts" for a licence has already
been raised as a concern.

If the province's ability to keep criminals out of casinos or to
enforce rules around proxies in the real estate industry is any
indication, we have reasons to be wary.

But we are comforted that New Westminster is already developing a
thoughtful plan and is providing opportunities for public input and

The city has already held an internal workshop that looked at five key
areas of future cannabis legalization.

Everything from how close cannabis retail shops can be to schools, to
how pots fit into the current city public smoking regulations will be
looked at.

The city is also hiring a consultant, holding a town-hall meeting and
getting feedback from the public and businesses.

That said, the road ahead is sure to be bumpy.

Throwing another mood-altering substance into the public mix will
certainly have impacts that we are not prepared for.

But if we acknowledge that any plan we have now may need to be changed
down the line, maybe we can all breath a little easier.
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MAP posted-by: Matt