Canada: British Columbia prepares for cannabis legalization

Government is inviting British Columbians to share their views about how the Province can keep young people, neighbourhoods and roads safe after Canada legalizes non-medical cannabis next year.

“We want to hear from as many people as possible about how we can best protect our kids, keep our roads safe, and lock criminals out of the non-medical cannabis industry,” said Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth. “It’s critical that we work together to ensure the legalization of non-medical cannabis results in safer, healthier communities.”

Through Nov. 1, people can share their views about B.C.’s approach to non-medical cannabis legalization at:

Under the federal government’s new laws, provinces and territories have the power to regulate distribution and retail sales of non-medical cannabis. British Columbia can also upgrade traffic-safety laws to protect people on the roads from cannabis impaired drivers.

“I hope British Columbians will get involved, be heard, and help us shape how we maximize public health and safety when non-medical cannabis is legalized by the federal government next year,” said Farnworth. “While we already have laws banning drug-affected driving, and they remain in effect, this is also an opportunity for people to let us know how we can make them stronger and more effective.”

In addition to the open public engagement process, government will also proactively seek opinions from a representative cross-section of British Columbians on their views concerning non-medical cannabis regulations, with a random telephone survey.

Local governments, Indigenous governments and organizations, and stakeholders from law enforcement, health, agriculture and other sectors will also have specific engagement opportunities with the Province on cannabis regulation later this fall. As well, the Province has invited the Union of B.C. Municipalities to establish a standing committee on cannabis legalization so local governments can share their experience, knowledge and concerns as B.C.’s regulatory framework develops.

“Local governments welcome the start of the consultation process as we move towards creating a made-in-B.C. approach to legalization,” said Union of B.C. Municipalities president Murry Krause. “Our members want to discuss issues like taxation, retail sales and personal cultivation in advance the regulatory framework being set in place. The proposed standing committee sounds like a good vehicle to support discussions.”

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