While the city of Vancouver has been quick to issue tickets and fines to dispensaries, shops in other cities are eager to have a seat at the table when it comes to cannabis legislation.
Jim Leslie, director of The Kootenays Medicine Tree, says that “Right now in the dispensary industry we’re considered to be operating in sort of a grey zone if you will, protected by case law from prior court decisions but not being regulated yet by the gov’t at any level.”
Leslie thinks that the legalization trend is spreading across the globe, and he was excited to hear the plans of legislation coming in 2017. He thinks that this will give the government enough time to get things straight legally. “I think it’s kind of ground-breaking because we’ve had our Minister of Health announce internationally that Canada is going to proceed with regulating cannabis for adults. It gives them some time to work with people, stakeholders and everyone who could be affected or has interest in seeing cannabis regulated,” Leslie said.
He is hoping that the cannabis community will be involved in the legal discussions. He notes that “It’s possible that between now and then dispensaries can have a chance to be heard and maybe to get a spot at the table to be included in the medical apparatus that will be also attached to the recreational policies around cannabis. This can provide another opportunity for dispensary operators to become regulated and fall under some form of gov’t regulation.”
In regards to this issue, Bill Blair last week said that he would not be including members of the cannabis community in his task force, even though Health Minister Jane Philpott seemed to indicate the contrary. We will continue to follow this issue and what other dispensary owners think about it.