UBCM Submission On Cannabis Legalization

UBCM has provided a submission regarding the development of a provincial framework for non-medical cannabis to the provincial Cannabis Legalization and Regulation Secretariat (CLRS). The submission is based upon the work undertaken by the Joint Provincial-Local Government Committee on Cannabis Regulation (JCCR) and has been endorsed by UBCM’s Executive.

UBCM’s recommendations call for a hybrid retail model (public and private retailers) that resembles the hybrid provincial liquor retail framework. Other notable recommendations call on the Province to retain the federal 4 plants per household limit for personal cultivation operations, and to extend existing public tobacco regulations/restrictions to smoking or vaping non-medical cannabis.

The recommendations contained in UBCM’s submission relate to the seven broad issues outlined in the provincial discussion paper, Cannabis Legalization and Regulation in British Columbia, including:

  • Minimum age to buy, grow and possess non-medical cannabis;
  • Personal possession limits for adults and youth;
  • Public consumption (e.g. smoking, vaping);
  • Drug-impaired driving regulations;
  • Personal cultivation (number of plants, location, security, etc.);
  • Distribution model; and,
  • Retail model.

The local government JCCR members’ responses to these questions have informed the recommendations made by UBCM in this submission. This document represents the first portion of UBCM’s feedback, addressing specific time-sensitive issues tabled by the Cannabis Legalization and Regulation Secretariat. Other local government issues and concerns (e.g. distribution of taxation revenue, regulation of edibles) will be addressed through the JCCR over the coming months.

Background

On September 21, 2017, UBCM received an invitation from Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, Mike Farnworth, to form a standing committee on cannabis legalization. In addition to the broader provincial engagement strategy to support the development of the provincial regulatory framework for legalized cannabis, the standing committee provides a forum for local governments to share their experiences and knowledge and discuss issues of interest or concern with the Cannabis Legalization and Regulation Secretariat. The Committee may also be used to assist in required statutory consultation if changes to local government legislation are considered.

The twelve JCCR members include a mix of local government elected officials, senior staff members and staff members with specialized skill sets and experience in planning, building inspection, bylaw enforcement and/or public safety. Understanding that the provincial Cabinet may consider policy decisions prior to 2018, the JCCR undertook an intensive two-month engagement process. Members met every two weeks to consider expert opinions, analyze high priority policy issues, and determine appropriate recommendations, with the objective of using this information to form a submission.

Provincial Action

Earlier today, the province announced its initial decisions with regard to minimum age, distribution and retail model, each of which reflect UBCM's submission.

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