Pubdate: Tue, 06 Mar 2018
Source: Penticton Herald (CN BC)
Copyright: 2018 The Okanagan Valley Group of Newspapers
Author: Jukka Laurio
Page: A7


Can we put the words "illegal" and "marijuana" together and still be
making a relevant statement in Canada? Marijuana is going to be legal
as a recreation drug.

The federal government has committed itself to legalization. The
provincial government has stepped forward with a plan for legal
marijuana, which included dispensaries as a component. They even went
so far as to include early licence application for

Marijuana will be sold, consumed by people and I do not believe there
is anything that will stop that from happening. This means the
political movement to legalize marijuana is no longer of significant
relevance. Operating dispensaries as a political statement is no
longer required. So, now what?

We are all waiting for the paperwork to get done. Our local police
detachments, our local governments, business associations, community
leaders, the public, we are all in the same boat. We are all milling
about, waiting for our government to open the doors and show us what
they have on the table for each of us.

Now, more than ever before, the marijuana issue is smothered in grey
area. I personally dislike the uncertainty. No one really knows what
to do or how to do it, no one is sure what action to take, especially
when definitive instructions for all of us will be coming soon.

There is a publicly recognized marijuana distribution industry. I am
not going to argue right, wrong, legal, illegal, only that it exists
and has for a considerable period of time. All indications are that it
will continue to exist in a similar form in a formalized, regulated

It is effective, widely accepted, causes no harm and has not been a
cause for public safety concerns. It is self-regulated and very
professional. In Canada we already have a basic knowledge of what is
expected of us and what is not acceptable, without our government
having to tell us. There will be more detailed official regulations
forth coming soon.

The existing system works and will continue to exist in some type of a
legal framework. It is not broken, so, to tear it down, only to
rebuild it in a few months, would be wasteful.

Arguing amongst ourselves or with local officials about marijuana
issues is a non-productive use of time. The entire marijuana matter is
in the hands of our provincial and federal representatives. They are
the ones that will vote on the laws to cover marijuana use and the
distribution industry. If you feel strongly about some part of the
marijuana issue, you should put it in writing and send it to your
local MP and MLA, they are the ones that will be formulating the new

Now is the time, as an individual, a special interest group, a civic
government, whatever you are, to let it be known what you expect from
the upcoming legalization of marijuana. Time, money or resources
regarding the marijuana issue would be best utilized pressuring our
MPs and MLAs to deal with our concerns or desires. They are going to
make the laws with or without our input.

We elected a group people who promised to have this legalization thing
done a couple of years ago. I am patient, as most Canadians seem to
be, but to have people incur consequences due to marijuana matters
that were to be resolved by now has a certain air of
inappropriateness. I understand it is a complicated issue and an
onerous burden. I do not envy them, but it is their job.

We hired a group of people to do a job, I see no reason why we should
continue to incur hardship over marijuana-related issues because the
people we hired are way behind schedule. It is not our fault, we are

The legalization of marijuana is the biggest social and political
event in Canada since the patriation of our constitution 45 years ago.
It is not something to be taken lightly.

Once it is done, Canada will be the only country in the world, where
the possession and sale of marijuana to the general public is legal.
Then we, the people, will be burdened with a great

We have to show the rest of the world that they can legalize marijuana
without their nation spiraling into a poverty stricken, drug-addicted
cesspool of third world conditions.

I am not worried. We can do it. We are Canadian.

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Jukka Laurio was the first the marijuana dispensary owner to operate out 
in the open in Penticton. He has since moved his operation to Okanagan 
Falls after a lengthy battle with the City of Penticton. Laurio also ran 
unsuccesfuly to be mayor of Penticton.
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MAP posted-by: Matt