Universal pot rules wanted

Oliver council members are in agreement that universal regulations on cannabis are the best option, rather than federal legislation that could leave communities to make their own rules.

The federal government has come under fire for a hands-off approach on currently-proposed legislation, and many municipalities are worried about the possible burden on them to enforce federal rules.

"If there's going to be federal legislation that surrounds (cannabis), we're not the body that enforces federal legislation. We need to have the rules to play by," said Mayor Ron Hovanes. 

Council has already ruled business licenses won't be granted to any firm that would contravene laws in the Criminal Code of Canada – including marijuana dispensaries.

"That's our way of saying we don't want to get involved in this. But we know, in June of next year, we might have this handed to us," Hovanes said. "I'm hoping they're not going to say 'well now it's legal in Canada, so now you guys have to come up with the rules', because I think that's wrong.

"We shouldn't be making laws that govern a substance. Whether it's alcohol, tobacco or drugs."

Hovanes worries enforcement of federal regulations on cannabis could put pressure on communities already burdened with decisions on other matters.

"If it's going to come with federal rules, it should come with federal legislation and parameters. I'm hoping it all goes well, but I'm hoping it's not going to be loosy-goosy at the end of the day."

Councillors made proposals Tuesday on what they would like to see in marijuana legislation, and town staff will now create a draft letter based on their input.

If approved by council at their Oct. 23rd meeting, that letter would be sent to the provincial government before Nov. 1st, the deadline for municipalities to submit feedback.

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