BC’s Regulation Framework – The Devil in the Details

December 5, 2017, was a historic day; it was the day the BC Government decided to grace us with their plans for cannabis legalization. The Cannabis communities of BC have been hoping to see a regulatory framework that reflects a multitude of educated opinions and common sense… and we are still waiting.

Like fussing children at a birthday party, we have been nervously watching clowns and magicians present illusions to us, all the while sensing that deep down something isn’t right.

The average BC resident has wizened up and educated themselves on the true benefits and risks associated with cannabis. A good performer appeals to its target audience; these new regulations and the forming of them are no exception.

The Province appears to go out of their way asking for input to include every point of view; especially to most BC residents who may have glanced at the regulation survey, yet did not actually fill it out. In this case of cannabis politics, we are being presented with an illusion and the devil is in the details.

What these regulations are saying… More importantly, what they are not saying…

To put it simply, these regulations don’t really commit to anything. In fact, they commit to not committing to any one specific model for cannabis use or distribution in BC. The people in BC have been patiently waiting for an outline of our cannabis rights. Rather than get fair, definitive common sense reflecting the interests of everyone, we continue to wait for a province that should be setting the example, not waiting for one.

The Province is favoring an everyone included till we figure it out, or, until our big brother Justin shows up and tells us what to do approach… Maybe the Federal plan for cannabis regulation holds so much weight with BC because Prime Minister Trudeau admitted to having some first hand experience with cannabis?

The illusion of open communication… this is actually a bit alarming…

I work at the Victoria Cannabis Buyers Club, a non-profit, totally medicinal, and currently illegal dispensary; as illness often leads to poverty, a large population of our membership is marginalized.

When this survey was released to the public, our club immediately saw the gross oversight of the professionals in charge of public data collection; the people who are most affected by these regulations had the least likely opportunity to give any input simply because they did not have access to a computer or phone.

The VCBC immediately made an extra computer available for anyone wanting to fill out the survey and almost instantly, a member doing just that made an excellent point about the minimum age. The question and answer is worded in a way that only allows for you to wish the minimum age to be 19, older, or express no opinion; there is no place to make the argument for younger than 19.

If we are not being given the opportunity to actually voice any opinion, even an unfavorable one, we are not being given an honest opportunity to be heard. The fact that this question was on a survey regarding human rights is not just irresponsibly unethical, it shows that there are decisions being made that affect us, they appear to be up for discussion but are in fact being made without any regard or input at all. Furthermore, we are being made to feel like our right to have a say in the laws surrounding us has been well respected, when in fact, the opposite has occurred.

Please note the use of the word recreational… and the lack of the word medicinal…

I find it very interesting that these new cannabis regulations very clearly state that they are intended for recreational cannabis, completely ignoring the fact that BC’s industry is almost entirely medicinal.

As a large part of BC is policed by the RCMP, raids and shutdowns have been rampant. Most of the businesses that have been able to exist, do so often times because they are recognized as having a medicinal mandate. This framework is supposed to include regulations so that the entire community can breathe with relief, not just recreational cannabis users or those who wish to make money off them.

So what does it all mean at the end of the day? Business as usual… for now…