Cannabis group tells council to prepare for legalization

Municipalities will be empowered to determine locations of cannabis dispensaries when marijuana is legalized.

Travis Lane, a director of the BC Independent Cannabis Association, says some municipalities will be treating sales of medicinal cannabis in the same manner as liquor sales.

“Can you prepare for this ahead of time?” Lane said Monday at Courtenay council. “We think it’s important to start the discussion now.”

The Cannabis Act, Bill C-45, is looking to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and the Criminal Code. Next summer, it appears the federal government will legalize marijuana. Production of medicinal cannabis will be federally controlled while distribution will fall under provincial jurisdiction.

“We ask you to (consider to) take licensing applications before July,” Lane said.

Responding to a question from Coun. David Frisch, Lane said the best option for production sites would be to mirror bars, where single doses of cannabis would be sold.

Mayor Larry Jangula worries that municipalities will bear the brunt of costs when pot is legalized. He has asked that municipalities receive one-third of the tax revenue. He also harbours concern about workers’ health and compensation.

“This whole issue is far from clear,” Jangula said.

Lane agrees that municipalities will bear the cost burden, and that workers’ compensation is a big issue.

“I don’t have a solution,” he said.

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