B.C. government says it has no plans to legalize recreational marijuana

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      The government of British Columbia is unlikely to move in favour of recreational marijuana anytime soon. However, there is some chatter suggesting that could change if Justin Trudeau and the Liberals were to take power in Ottawa come the October federal election.

      According to a July 31 report in the Globe and Mail, a spokesperson for the province’s Ministry of Health told the paper there are “no ‘plans to recommend or implement provincial legislation around this topic’.”

      The interview with the Globe’s Mike Hager was in response to a series of emails obtained via freedom of information legislation.

      That correspondence includes an email from Brian Emerson, a medical consultant with the Health Ministry, in which he suggests B.C. could legalize recreational marijuana.

      “Given the emerging legalized markets in Alaska, Washington State, Oregon and likely soon in California it might make sense for B.C. to join that pack to complete the West Coast arrangement,” Emerson wrote in April 2015.

      That month, the City of Vancouver proposed official rules for the more than 80 marijuana dispensaries that were illegally operating in the city at that time. (Today, it is believed there are around 100, though many of these will soon be forced to relocate or close in accordance with new zoning bylaws the city passed on June 24.)

      Emerson’s email was addressed to provincial health officer Perry Kendall and Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) chief medical officer Patricia Daly, among others.

      It goes on to propose B.C. could file a submission with Health Canada for an exemption from section 56 of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (the same procedure VCH goes through every year with Insite). Emerson suggested the province could create a system where it monopolized the sale of marijuana via government storefronts established in “accepting communities”.

      John Carsley, a VCH medical health officer who also appears in the email thread, wrote he didn’t think B.C. could legalize marijuana before there was a change in government in Ottawa.

      Stephen Harper’s Conservative government has long opposed any loosening of laws around cannabis while Liberal leader Justin Trudeau has promised to legalize recreational marijuana if elected in the federal election scheduled for October 19. The NDP has said it wants to study the issue.

      Daly told the Globe “the solution has to be a federal” one.

      Kendall said the same, but noted there is considerable support for legalization among health-care practitioners across B.C. 



      The Anonymouse

      Jul 31, 2015 at 12:53pm

      If Alberta legalizes before BC.....Ouch. BTW price of weed in Washington state is like 25 a gram? Can anyone confirm this? If you wanted people to smoke less try regulating and taxing. Government likes taxing people...

      Brian Kelly

      Jul 31, 2015 at 2:05pm

      Fear of Marijuana Legalization Nationwide is unfounded. Not based on any science or fact whatsoever. So please prohibitionists, we beg you to give your scare tactics, "Conspiracy Theories" and "Doomsday Scenarios" over the inevitable Legalization of Marijuana Nationwide a rest. Nobody is buying them anymore these days. Okay?

      Furthermore, if all prohibitionists get when they look into that nice, big and shiny, crystal ball of theirs, while wondering about the future of marijuana legalization, is horror, doom, and despair, well then I suggest they return that thing as quickly as possible and reclaim the money they shelled out for it, since it's obviously defective.

      The prohibition of marijuana has not decreased the supply nor the demand for marijuana at all. Not one single iota, and it never will. Just a huge and complete waste of our tax dollars to continue criminalizing citizens for choosing a natural, non-toxic, relatively benign plant proven to be much safer than alcohol.

      If prohibitionists are going to take it upon themselves to worry about "saving us all" from ourselves, then they need to start with the drug that causes more death and destruction than every other drug in the world COMBINED, which is alcohol!

      Why do prohibitionists feel the continued need to vilify and demonize marijuana when they could more wisely focus their efforts on a real, proven killer, alcohol, which again causes more destruction, violence, and death than all other drugs, COMBINED?

      Prohibitionists really should get their priorities straight and/or practice a little live and let live. They'll live longer, happier, and healthier, with a lot less stress if they refrain from being bent on trying to control others through Draconian Marijuana Laws.

      North Star

      Jul 31, 2015 at 11:08pm

      We should legalize it and make a bundle the way we do with booze.

      Barry William Teske

      Aug 1, 2015 at 5:57am

      Of course not.
      Leadership in BC is about ownership.
      Guardianship only kicks in when the accountability and responsibility just aren't profitable enough.