Le chef du Parti LibÈral du Canada, Justin Trudeau, lors de son discours au CongrËs biennal du Parti LibÈral du Canada au Palais des CongrËs, ‡ MontrÈal en ce samedi 22 fÈvrier 2014. JOEL LEMAY/AGENCE QMI

Dispensary owners welcome Liberal Party’s win

The Liberal party’s majority win in Monday’s election could mean big changes for cannabis dispensaries in Metro Vancouver, and owners are excited about what’s ahead.

“The win is fabulous for all of us.” said Don Briere, owner of Weeds Glass and Gifts.

Briere is being taken to court by the city of Abbotsford for operating without a business licence. The city has said it won’t give licences to businesses dealing in an illegal substance.

But that argument may soon be cast aside with Justin Trudeau being voted in as Canada’s next Prime Minister.  Trudeau campaigned on a promise to legalize cannabis for medicinal and recreational use.

Briere thinks the potential policy shift will help his chances of staying open for business. “Now we can negotiate.” Briere said.

In Vancouver, the Liberal win is welcome news for Budzilla dispensary owner Rejean Houle, although he’s not sure his situation will change.

“It’s a good thing federal politics are now on our side, and I hope dispensary owners and the city can work together.” Houle said. “The infrastructure is already here for legalization.”

It’s not known when legalization will be introduced or how the system will work, and that is causing concerns.

“Ushering in legalization is a progressive step forward for our country,” said patient’s rights activist Jason Wilcox.  “But I’m concerned about protecting a free and fair market.”

Wilcox fears big business may push small growers and entrepreneurs out, pointing to the Liberal party’s connection to one of the country’s largest licensed producers.

“Chuck Rifici is the CFO of the Liberal Party, and he’s also the co-founder of Tweed (now known as Canopy Growth Corporation)” Wilcox points out. “It makes me wonder if the new federal government will cater to the big licensed producers, and leave no room for mom-and-pop businesses.”