Nanaimo mayor speaks against speedy medical marijuana dispensary legalization

NANAIMO – AVICC resolution asking feds to share marijuana tax money passes. Motion asking for expedited dispensary regs defeated.

Nanaimo mayor Bill McKay was among delegates defeating a motion seeking to expedite medical marijuana dispensary legalization at the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities conference Saturday.

The motion asked Canada’s ministers of health and justice to proceed with the legalization of medical marijuana dispensaries without delay and McKay said it isn’t something to rush into.

When speaking about the safety of the product, McKay said all producers must be regulated to the same standard. If municipalities and regional districts are going to be given the responsibility to license and regulate, it will cost money, he said.

“The dispensaries won’t even make the grade that we require for a wine store application in Nanaimo,” McKay said. “It’s going to cost a lot of money to regulate, we need to have our eyes wide open before we do so.”

While Coun. Jim Kipp voted in favour of the resolution, he said there are sometimes too many regulations.

“We sometimes put too much into some of these regulations and authorities and we try and control too much I think sometimes, although it can be a rampant business like it is now, where it’s just all over the place. It has to be organized,” said Kipp.

Unlike dispensary legalization, delegates passed a resolution calling on the federal government to share tax money from marijuana sales and distribution with municipalities. Kipp voted in favour and said with the way the marijuana industry is going, it needs to be taxed.

The social implications are huge and municipal governments need the ability to ensure children are protected, said Kipp.

“Marijuana is so much stronger now than say my generation had and it is dangerous for the kids and it does cause problems socially, so we have to be able to steer that money our direction and work in our communities so the taxation on it is important for local government,” Kipp said.