Letter: West Kelowna won’t allow marijuana dispensaries

Mail order providers are not allowed to provide information…because prohibitionists developed this system.

To the editor:

After having attended the April 14 West Kelowna municipal council meeting, I came away disappointed, in that there was a majority vote decision that will make it a little easier for our youth to buy marijuana on our streets and in our parks.

The vote was on an amendment to a municipal bylaw which would disallow the business licensing of medicinal marijuana dispensaries in West Kelowna. On the surface, this might seem reasonable, as these alternative health facilities are not the legally recognized way for patients to receive their medication. However, a closer look at this issue is warranted.

If the underlying goal of this amendment is to curtail the opening of further medical marijuana dispensaries and, ultimately, the closure of the existing ones, this council is doing a disservice to both its’ citizens that view these businesses as a valuable resource for their medical needs and, even more importantly, to the wider community in that this amendment will actually increase unrestricted access to marijuana to minors. It defeats any kind of limiting effect council members might hope to bring about in who has access and, under what circumstances.

These dispensaries have arisen out of federal prohibition policy. Authorized patients had made their preference for a dispensary system known to Health Canada, prior to the implementation of the federal government’s misguided attempt at cobbling together a supply system that neither adequately serves the needs of Canadian patients and continues to apply prohibitionist policies.

Under our current legal access system, a mail order provider is not allowed to provide information regarding the efficacy or use of specific strains. They are not allowed to provide pictures. They are not allowed to provide extracts—many of which are shown to be very beneficial and do not get you high—and, they are not allowed to provide edibles for those patients with breathing problems. That’s because prohibitionists developed this system. They don’t believe in medical marijuana and have been forced to allow for it through court decisions. This proposed amendment only puts a local face to that failed policy.

Denying and, ultimately, closing our dispensaries does nothing to discourage cannabis use in our community. Rather, it forces a return to private residences, parks, bars—anywhere other than a controlled setting. With dispensaries the municipality has, at least, some assurance that there are age and medical restrictions and that the medicine is provided in a known setting, subject to local inspection. This proposal is a step backwards in the effective control and regulation of marijuana in West Kelowna.

There was no compelling reason for this council to act as federal agents, in this matter. Other municipalities have allowed them without federal repercussions. 3 in Kelowna, 5 in Vernon…81 in Vancouver! I reminded the council that, as part of the UBCM, the legalization and regulation of marijuana, including medical marijuana has been endorsed by that body.

None of this seemed to matter, though, so…we’re back to no control over who has access, whatsoever. I would encourage those citizens concerned about putting more pot in the hands of our kids to contact the mayor and council regarding this vote.

Mark Conlin, West Kelowna


Just Posted

Hodge: Losing a legend, and a local character

Kelowna columnist Charlie Hodge says two people have left large legacies

Need to catch up on news? You’re covered

Every Saturday the Capital News will highlight stories from the week

Big White board school among best

Director of snow sports, Josh Foster, is one of the top instructors in Canada

Seniors prefer funeral to lifestyle planning

Survey finds 73% of seniors have a will, only 13% have long-term care plan

Okanagan College business students soar

Medal winners at Western Canadian Business Competition

VIDEO: B.C. Mounties reunite veteran with lost military medals

RCMP say Zora Singh Tatla, who served in the army in India for 28 years, is the righful owner

Inspections, training needed to prevent repeat of Fernie ammonia leak across B.C.

Ammonia is inherently dangerous and should be not used in skating and curling rinks, says one expert

Vees rout Smoke Eaters 5-2

Penticton is up 2-0 in best-of-seven playoff series

RCMP move to arrest pipeline protesters at entrance to Trans Mountain work site

28 demonstrators began blocking the entrance to Kinder Morgan’s work site at about 10 a.m. Saturday

Rockets battle Ams in opening round of WHL playoffs

Kelowna finishes off regular season Saturdday with 8-1 home ice win over Vancouver

Federal government seeks public feedback on pedestrian safety

What safety measures do you think need to improved for pedestrians and cyclists?

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

4 facts to ring in St. Patrick’s Day

What do you really know about the Irish celebration?

Experts urging caution as rabbits die by the hundreds in B.C. city

Province of B.C. confirms more positive tests for rabbit haemorrhagic disease

Most Read