EDITORIAL: Legalization is a mess so far

You know when your kids offer to help with the chores, and it is the best feeling ever.

But then when you go in the laundry room an hour later, they have dumped the Tide powder all over the floor and put the cat in the dryer — door open thankfully — and suddenly you realize their “good deed” is going to cost you extra hours of work, emotional stress and valuable downtime?

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You are frustrated and angry, but you can’t really say too much because — well — the kids’ hearts were in the right place.

That is basically where we are at with cannabis legalization.

Oct. 17 marked one year since legalization of cannabis for non-medical use.

Ending prohibition was the right thing for the government to do. Good job.

But gosh, what a mess.

Squamish made history as the first municipality in the province to award municipal approval to Bryan Raiser and his 99 North Dispensary, yet that was now 13 months ago and still, Raiser says his file sits on a provincial desk.

We aren’t saying approve his dispensary; that is not for us to decide.

But delays province-wide have left numerous applicants like Raiser in a kind of purgatory, not knowing what their future holds.

Clearly, the province wasn’t ready for legalization.

The Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch is responsible for licensing private non-medical cannabis retail stores in B.C. So far, approximately 533 applications have been made, 144 have been granted licenses. About 33 were approved with conditions.

Only Sky High Cannabis is approved in Squamish. None are approved in Whistler so far.

One has to wonder if the long delays are the way the government says no to applications without actually saying so?

There have been product shortages and supply chain issues. Not to mention, many have complained the legal prices are prohibitively high.

Some of the rules also seem like the kids made them up while they dumped the Tide, or worse, that they were made by bureaucrats perpetuating stigma around cannabis.

Insisting on frosted windows seems less safe — why insist on hiding what goes on in the stores? Not allowing minors to step foot in stores seems punitive.

Go get a bottle of wine and kids are seen on parents’ hips on the regular. If we are bringing cannabis out of the shadows, why ban parents from bringing their kids in? Are children to be left outside, to wait in the car? We have stopped doing that with dogs for goodness sake.

And this has all cost municipal governments a “significant” amount in zoning updates, business licencing, building inspections, bylaw enforcement and staff processing time on referrals from the province, which have compounded capacity issues, Mayor Karen Elliott told The Chief.  

Local governments in B.C, have not received any cannabis tax revenues to date.

All in all, legalization has created a heck of a mess, but as we tell our kids through gritted teeth when they attempt a good deed — at least they are trying.

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@ Copyright Squamish Chief

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