Province Prepping for Marijuana Legalization
Prince George, B.C.- It was a promise made by the Liberals during the last Federal Election, but the legalization of marijuana has yet to come to fruition and there are still plenty of issues that need to be resolved before it becomes a reality.
B.C.’s Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, Mike Morris says B.C. has been busy preparing the change “We are probably more advanced than other jurisdictions across Canada in my opinion. We’ve had a committee of Assistant deputy Ministers working on this for just about all of 2016.” He says that committee has visited jurisdictions in the U.S. which have already legalized marijuana and there are issues “impaired driving by THC levels is another major issue because it has sky rocketed in those States that have legalized it.”
Morris says the Province is looking at a number of options “We are working with the Federal Task Force, providing them input and seeking some more direction from Cabinet sometime in the next month or so on the position that B.C. should be taking. All in all, I think B.C. is well positioned to follow whatever legislation comes out federally but we don’t even have a hint of what that looks like yet.”
The Federal Government has promised the new legislation will be delivered in the spring of 2017 but when it will be enacted is a different story. Solicitor General Morris says there will have to be a great deal of work done in B.C. to ensure B.C’s legislation mirrors that of the Federal laws. “The legalization of marijuana in B.C. affects over 27 different provincial statutes right now, so there’s a ton of work that needs to be done.”
Morris says in addition to impaired driving , health and illicit crime remain important issues. There is also the tax component as representatives at the recent Union of BC Municipalities conference made it clear they would like a piece of the taxation that may be applied to marijuana sales. “The Municipalities were concerned over getting their fair share of the tax structure” says Morris “From my perspective, and from our Government’s perspective, taxation is not going to be the windfall that a lot of people might think it is. We don’t know what it’s going to look like yet, but we don’t want to tax it so high that it’s going to drive sales to the black market much like tobacco and other areas, so we have to find that balance.”pie is the primary focus illicit crime is another focus and