Friday, May 8, 2015

Two B.C. cities want to allow OTC marijuana sale

Victoria becomes second B.C. city to propose regulating marijuana sales | Georgia Straight Vancouver's News & Entertainment Weekly - Travis Lupick:

May 8, 2015 - "Yesterday (May 7), Victoria city council received a report from staff that recommended a crackdown on the provincial capital’s growing number of medicinal marijuana dispensaries.

"In a vote of seven to one, councillors opted to reject that suggestion. Instead, they requested staff draft new business and zoning bylaws that would regulate the over-the-counter sales of marijuana.

"In a telephone interview, Mayor Lisa Helps said Victoria is now on a path similar to that of Vancouver, which on April 28 saw city council send a proposed legal framework for marijuana sales to a public hearing....

"Helps said that for her, a decision in favour of regulation over prohibition largely came down to two factors.

"The first was the support of the Victoria Police Service. At the council meeting, police inspector Scott McGregor said the department was not opposed to regulating dispensaries.... Helps said that was a turning point....

"The second, Helps continued, was an identified need to address a problem created by a lack of action from higher levels of government.

"'There is a legal grey area,' she maintained ... between federal legislation and what the courts are willing to prosecute. That is a grey area. So municipalities are left to come up with solutions and that is what we are doing.'

"Helps emphasized that the rules councillors have requested from staff will not simply permit the sale of marijuana. They will also control who stores are selling to — banning minors, for example —and, ideally, bring some control over the sale of marijuana strains with excessively high THC levels that might exceed what is safe."

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