The province responded to the the federal Liberals’ promise to legalize cannabis this week, with officials hoping they will be consulted.
Over the next months, Premier Christy Clark said her government will work with Ottawa “in whatever moves they make” on cannabis legalization.
“It’s a Criminal Code provision,” Clark said. “The Criminal Code is a federal responsibility, so if and when they make changes, we’ll work with them to make sure the changes can be effective in B.C.”
“I’m expecting — given what they’ve said in the election period — that they’re going to be proposing changes to that,” said B.C. Justice Minister Suzanne Anton. “We would expect to be consulted. The federal government’s traditionally very good about consulting, and we will participate in that.”
Health Minister Terry Lake said the province will need to follow the lead set by the federal government’s agenda.
“This is federal legislation, so we’ll work with the federal government on any policy changes,” Lake said. “I’ve always maintained that if you want to protect children, then you regulate and ensure that they’re not able to access it as easily as they can today.”
The B.C. NDP said they will reveal their opinion on legalization at a later date.
“I’ve got some ideas on that,” said leader John Horgan. “We’ve been talking about that inside the caucus and we’ll have more to say about that in the days and weeks and months ahead.”
In Vancouver, the Liberal victory comes as the city is undergoing a regulation process for 176 dispensary applications. If the federal government’s plans don’t align with the city’s, the work ay be scrapped.
Mayor Gregor Robertson said the city won’t derail its current process to wait for Trudeau to spell out his plan.
“Our drug policy reform position is clear here. The current system is broken and basically serves to enrich organized crime,” Robertson said.