Stepping out of the haze

The province has announced how it plans on regulating marijuana when it becomes legal later this year. 

And that means municipalities have a clearer picture of what they can enforce and what is out of their jurisdiction. 

Retailers will not be able to sell marijuana at stores where liquor or tobacco is sold.

The province will also set up a registration process for those who are interested in applying for a cannabis retail licence, but licences will not be issued without the support of local governments.

"We may limit where we want these businesses to set up, but it will be a tough one to say how many," says Vernon's Mayor Akbal Mund.

"We don't limit the number of gas stations, we don't limit the number of fast food restaurants, we don't limit the number of shops that set up in our communities. Do we look at medicinal marijuana shops differently or do we treat them like any other business?"

Mund adds, "When it becomes legal to sell cannabis, are the seven people on council the ones to decide on the number that should exist in the community, or do we let the market decide?"

Along with the proposed legislation on medicinal marijuana sales, comes regulations around recreational marijuana use as well. 

The province said it will allow the sale online through both private and government-operated retail stores once it becomes legal later this year.

Growing will align with the federal government's proposal, allowing adults to grow up to four pot plants per household. 

However, growing will be banned in daycares, and it is the right of landlords to prohibit cultivation.

Marijuana can be smoked in public places where cigarette and vaping are allowed, but it will be banned in vehicles and in areas like beaches, parks and playgrounds; where children may present. 

A 90-day driving ban will be enforced for those caught driving while impaired. Law enforcement will also receive more training to recognize impairment.

And, anyone 19 or older will be allowed to have up to 30 grams of non-medical marijuana in a public place, which also aligns with the federal government's proposed possession limits.

While the proposed regulations go a long way in providing clarification on some issues, Mund says there is still a lot to try and understand. 

"It says no food sales. To me, that means you won't be able to sell edibles. I also read the part where it says if you have a criminal record, you may not be allowed a license, or even considered for registration." That gets the mind ticking, says Mund. "I wonder if anyone operating now has been arrested in the past for the sale of cannabis anywhere?"

The changes are expected to be introduced in the spring legislative session, so that gives municipalities time to understand the new regulations and make decisions accordingly. 

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