Recreational marijuana will be legal in Canada as of Oct. 17. —Image: Cannabis Culture/Flickr

Kelowna will be ready for pot legalization says senior manager

Planning director Doug Gilchrist says city tacking issue with licensing, land-use and enforcement

A senior manager in Kelowna says he expects the city will be ready to deal with marijuana legalization when it comes into effect Oct. 17.

Doug Gilchrist, divisional director of community planning and strategic investment, said city staff are currently addressing plans for legalization from three points—business licensing, enforcement and land use.

Gilchrist said the business licensing and land-use preparations are nearly complete and he expects staff to have recommendations ready for council within the next few weeks.

Enforcement, however, needs more information from the province before Kelowna can iron out just how local police will deal with the issue.

“But in general, I think we’ll be ready,” said Gilchrist.

The federal government had originally targeted July 1 for the start of legalization in Canada. But hold-ups in approving the legislation in Ottawa and requests from provinces for more time to prepare prompted the Ottawa to push back that date to Oct. 17.

Earlier this year, when the summer time frame was in place—and the province had yet to say how it planned to deal with legalization in B.C.—Mayor Colin Basran said he doubted his city would be ready in time to deal with the issue—both from municipal rule and police enforcement standpoint.

Since then, the province has outlined how it will distribute cannabis in B.C., and who will be able to sell it. But it has not said yet how much of the 75 per cent share of revenues it will receive from sales will go to municipalities to cover their costs. And Gilchrist said more information about policing and enforcement is also needed. He expects marijuana will be dealt with like alcohol.

In the past, Canadian municipalities had suggested they receive one-third of revenues to cover their costs, with the other two thirds split equally between the federal government and the provinces.

Gilchrist said city staff are currently working out what the expected cost to the city will be for dealing legalization.

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