Municipalities draft letters for upcoming Cannabis laws

Radium Council weighs in on cannabis discussions

Cannabis was at the forefront of discussion at the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) meeting in September, according to the consensus at the Village of Radium Hot Springs council meeting on Wednesday, October 11th.

“We would be talking about something to do with highways and it would come up,” said councillor Mike Gray.

The government has asked for the opinion of the municipalities of B.C. on the non-medical legalization of the drug.

Back in April of this year, the Government of Canada introduced two Bills regarding the issue: Bill C-45 (the Cannabis Act) and Bill C-46 (amending the Criminal Code impaired driving provisions). The end goal will see the legalization of cannabis for recreational purposes, with enforcement laws being acted upon, regarding intoxication issues related to substance use.

Though most decisions about cannabis regulation will fall under federal jurisdiction, the province is looking for input from municipalities.

Local governments, Indigenous governments, organizations and stakeholder groups were asked to draft letters to the province, identifying a “number of priority policy considerations for the development of a regulatory framework for non-medical cannabis in B.C.”

Concerns over smoking in public places was par for discussion, as Mayor Clara Reinhardt maintained her stance against secondhand smoke while highlighting alternative methods for cannabis use that included taking the drug orally, or topically.

On public consumption, Ms. Reinhardt felt that enforcement would be difficult.

“It’s impractical to enforce the smoking of it and it’s more prudent to rely on public intoxication laws,” she said.

Educating the public was a key element that Ms. Reinhardt felt could be addressed in a letter to the province.

“Nowhere in here did I see anything about education — they’re talking about management and enforcement but there is nothing about education,” she said.

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