At 1:30pm, February 5, 2018, the looming threat to the rights of medicinal cannabis patients was confirmed when BC’s Minister for Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth announced the Government’s plans for regulating the sale of recreational cannabis.
Clear in the distinction that these regulations are only to be imposed for recreational use, Mr. Farnworth had little to say to ensure protection for patients; blaming an inadequate federal government has been the answer when this concern is brought up. As expected, it does little to quell the alarm.
Despite the fact that lives literally depend on getting medicinal cannabis regulations right, both the Federal and Provincial governments have decided to start with people getting stoned for fun.
Here is how they see that looking…
Surprisingly, the provincial government is allowing both private and government-operated storefronts to dispense cannabis. They will not allow it to be sold beside liquor or tobacco, but only on its own. In fact, hemp clothing is not even allowed to be sold on the same premises!
What the application process will look like or how much it will cost to even apply remains to be seen. When asked who will be considered in the process, the solicitor-general replied, “We imagine many of the existing organizations will apply.”
This news is welcome for a lot of recreational dispensaries that operate under a “medicinal guise”. However, with no regulations for medicinal dispensaries, the truly medicinal, patients-over-profits dispensaries and all their years of collective knowledge and experience could fall through the cracks of this new system and be lost forever.
Damned if you do, damned if you don’t
Having no clear guidelines to legally distinguish an organization as being medicinal, while recreational rules are defined and enforced, makes it very difficult to argue a right to be discluded from this process- let alone avoid being penalized by it.
The application form doesn’t even have a spot on it to note that an organization is medicinal and if you submit it anyway, you risk being denied and shut down. If you do not submit it, you risk being raided and shut down.
What has yet to be determined
Who is chosen and why? What will the prices be? Will Government stores have uniform pricing and be less or more than private organizations? What about edibles? Where can we smoke weed? All of these questions are still being sorted out; they are all being asked to the right people who are batting them away… for now.
However, the one thing that seems to be certain is the priorities of the Provincial Government; one would think that the medical needs of citizens of this province would take precedence but it seems like the politicians of BC are only concerned about getting high.
Featured image courtesy of Vancouver Courier and Dan Toulgoet