Working Group on Cannabis Legalization

Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth announced that the Union of B.C. Municipalities has been invited to establish a standing committee with the Province to support the development of the regulatory framework for cannabis legalization in British Columbia.

In his comments to delegates, Minister Farnworth emphasized the need for engagement with the public and stakeholders in advance of legislation being introduced. “We are under no illusions that we can impose a solution unilaterally; everyone has a stake in this issue,” said Farnworth. In his comments during a media availability session following the announcement, the Minister emphasized the need for legislation that leaves flexibility for local governments, saying that a “one size fits all” approach will not work.

When asked about revenue sharing, Farnworth said that there is no agreement between the federal and provincial government yet. The Minister also indicated there would be significant up front costs to implement the prospective framework and that the province “is not looking at this as a downloading exercise.”

The announcement comes as the Province has launched a public consultation process on cannabis legalization. In addition to the open public engagement process, government will also proactively seek opinions from a representative cross-section of British Columbians on their views concerning non-medical cannabis regulations. Local governments, Indigenous governments and organizations, and stakeholders from law enforcement, health, agriculture and other sectors will also have specific engagement opportunities with the Province on cannabis regulation later this fall.

“Local governments welcome the start of the consultation process as we move towards creating a made-in-BC approach to legalization,” said UBCM president Murry Krause. “Our members want to discuss issues like taxation, retail sales and personal cultivation in advance the regulatory framework being set in place. The proposed standing committee sounds like a good vehicle to support discussions.”

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