VANDERHOOF - The issue of recreational marijuana is on the table again, as a Union of BC Municipalities' Joint Provincial-Local Government Committee on Cannabis Regulation IS meeting this week.
"We have been working with government to try and represent communities and what any suggested change the legalization of cannabis would mean to communities," explains Committee Member and Vanderhoof Councillor Brian Frankel explains.
In its position paper, UBCM identified seven areas they hope to see addressed. They include such things as minimum age, public consumption, personal cultivation and a retail model. Local governments have been clamouring for some of those answers before they can move forward with internal bylaws.
"We've outlined a number of rules and regulations in terms of age of use, allowing stratas and rentals to no to cultivation and growing, explained Mark Farnworth, the Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, during a recent visit to Prince George. "But we're also still waiting for is the final passages of the regulations from Ottawa, which are going to cover such things as marketing, sales, packaging, all of those."
Frenkel says some communities may need some help with adjustments.
"It's going to be legalized, stopping it is not the answer. It is making sure that our communities are ready for what's coming. Vancouver may be ready because they understand it, Victoria understands it, Nanaimo and maybe Kamloops. Small towns like Vanderhoof haven't dealt with it before and so now we need to get ourselves up to speed."
Another major area of concern for local governments, including the City of Prince George, is the additional cost of police enforcement of the laws.
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