Canada’s Health Minister Rona Ambrose expressed disappointment over Vancouver’s move to legalize marijuana dispensaries, saying Canada does not endorse marijuana because it is “neither an approved drug nor medicine,” news said.
The Health Minister sent a letter to the city council — which voted 8 to 3 in favor of legalizing weed — cautioning against the move. She said she is disappointed in the city for legalizing an “illegal industry.”
“Storefronts selling marijuana are illegal and under this Conservative government will remain illegal. We expect the police to enforce the law,” Ambrose lamented. The police department has also received the warning from the minister through a correspondence.
The city government puts the blame on Ottawa for having restrictive laws on medical marijuana that resulted in the dispensaries’ proliferation. According to CTV News, three years ago, the pot dispensaries only numbered to “fewer than 20” but now has risen to 94.
“We are faced with a tough situation, a complicated situation. We have this proliferation of dispensaries that must be dealt with,” said Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson.
Licensing Fees And Strict Location Of Pot Dispensary
With pot dispensary being regulated by the city government, the council will charge with a licensing fee amounting to C$30,000, and no marijuana repository shall be established less than 300 meters from community centers, schools and from each other. Pot nooks shall also be prohibited from specific areas.
Although the legalization may appear as a careless act, the city council has made sure the licensing is stricter with its implementation of two-tiered system, which will allow a compassion club to be charged with only $1,000 fee.
News said that to qualify for a compassion organization, the repository shall be a non-profit offering health services to citizens. It must also register with Canadian Association of Medical Cannabis Dispensaries. Services that a compassion association may serve to individuals include acupuncture and massage therapy, to mention a few.
Kerry Jang, one of the councilors who voted in favor of legalization of pot dispensaries told the media there are clubs that provide psychological and nutritional counseling to help people have a transition from using pots “to other medicine if possible.”