B.C. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth talks pot with reporters at a presser in Surrey. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)

Farnworth says five years too long for feds to deal with organized crime in medical pot

Needs to be dealt with much sooner than that, B.C. Public Safety Minister says

Provincial Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth says five years is too long to wait for the federal government to deal with organized crime’s infiltration into Canada’s medical marijuana industry.

“I am concerned about the role of organized crime in the production of medical marijuana, particularly we’ve seen around the Hells Angels and the use of the medical marijuana licences, and I think it’s an issue that should be concerning the federal government,” Farnworth told reporters at a press conference in Surrey this past Friday.

“I think it’s unacceptable that organized crime has been able to infiltrate on the medical marijuana production side,” said Farnworth, who is also B.C.’s solicitor general. “I know the federal government has said they intend to address the issue of medical marijuana, changes and reforms within five years, I think that’s far too long. I think it needs to be dealt with much sooner that that.

READ ALSO: Province’s $6.5M will help women escape violence, Public Safety Minister announces in Surrey

READ ALSO: B.C. government marijuana stores will compete with private sellers

Farnworth said the challenge “of course” is that medical marijuana is solely regulated by the federal government and as a result the legislation the provincial government will be tabling “is only able to deal with the recreational legalization of recreational cannabis because that’s what the federal government is legalizing.

“Medical marijuana will still be governed by existing federal regulation, federal rules and until that changes, we can only deal with the recreational side of things,” he said.

Meantime, the government minister said he intends to introduced legislation as early as the week of April 23rd concerning recreational pot use.

“There are significant changes, obviously, that are going to be happening in the coming weeks with new legislation and legalization that’s taking place at the federal level and so that I expect that is obviously going to have an impact on the events such as 4/20 in the coming years,” he said.

“I’m expecting to be introducing legislation next week, I know that it will be introduced next week,” he said on Friday, April 20th. “We’re also looking forward to the final version of the federal legislation that we know is scheduled to be passed on June 7. There may be amendments that we’re not aware, we’re not sure of yet. We’re still waiting to see what the final bill looks like at the federal level, C-45, and of course Bill C-46, the impaired driving legislation is also waiting to be dealt with by the Senate. Obviously we’re have to wait and see what those amendments are.”

READ ALSO: 4-20: Pot activists continue their fight beyond legalization

Farnworth said B.C.’s NDP government will be looking closely at what the federal government does. “Of course, whatever they decide impacts us because we are operating within the federal government’s framework on the legislation the province will need to put into place.”

So where will the provincial government allow recreational pot to be sold here in B.C.?

“We’ve launched a public consultation process, with local government for example, on the retail system,” Farnworth told reporters. “The details of course will be in our legislation but we have made it clear that local communities will get a say in what kind of stores will be operating in their community, so for example it could be a government store, it could be a private store — some communities have said they don’t want any store, and we’re okay with that as well; we’re not going to be ramming stores down any community’s throat.”

Farnworth said hurdles will have to be jumped. “In order to have a retail outlet, you are going to have to get local government approval. If you don’t get local government approval, you will not be getting provincial government approval.”



tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Tom on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Nanaimo’s Western Edge Theatre returns to the stage in Port Theatre debut

Theatre group presents ‘2 Across,’ described as a ‘middle-aged romantic comedy’

Purebred breeders go for a walk in Nanaimo to show off their dogs

Purebred dog breeders sometimes get a bad rap, says event organizer

City reviewing plans for huge Sandstone project in south Nanaimo

Seacliff Properties says it’s been told to be ready for a public hearing this fall

Ferry riders say lower fares are what’s most needed to improve service

Provincial government announces findings of public engagement process

COVID-19 isn’t cancelling this year’s Tour de Rock

Alumni riders will cycle relay sections in their own communities

B.C. or Ontario? Residential school survivors fight move of court battle

It’s now up to Ontario’s Court of Appeal to sort out the venue question

B.C. transportation minister will not seek re-election

Claire Trevena has held the position since 2017

Body discovered floating in water near Lasqueti Island

JRCC reports personnel aboard fishing vessel made the find

Young B.C. cancer survivor rides 105-km with Terry Fox’s brother

Jacob Bredenhof and Darrell Fox’s cycling trek raises almost $90,000 for cancer research

B.C. migrant, undocumented workers rally for permanent residency program

Rally is part of the Amnesty for Undocumented Workers Campaign led by the Migrant Workers Centre

Preparations underway for pandemic election in Saskatchewan and maybe B.C.

Administrators in B.C. and around the country are also looking to expand voting by mail during the pandemic

Nearly 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among health-care workers by late July

WHO acknowledged the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions

Nanaimo RCMP community policing needs a few good volunteers

Volunteers needed to help Nanaimo RCMP and city deliver crime prevention and safety programs

Protesters march in Nanaimo, calling for greater protection of forests and watersheds

March for the Forests happened downtown on Friday afternoon

Most Read