Time to capitalize on cannabis industry

The potentially huge economic benefits…should not be under-estimated


To the editor:

It was with the upcoming May 2017 provincial election in mind that I wrote to my MLA, Premier Christy Clark, regarding the anticipated legalization of recreational marijuana. My letter was an attempt to convey the message that the Federal Task Force on Legalization had recommended that stand-alone, storefront dispensaries stood the strongest chance for successful, regulated control of marijuana in our communities.

That same task force also acknowledged that the other respective levels of government would be responsible for how cannabis would be distributed and for the enforcement of the regulations.

I made it clear that the provincial government plays a pivotal role in successful transition from prohibition to a regulated industry.

I pointed out that, next to ensuring that the primary goal of reducing minor access to marijuana is achieved, the potentially huge economic benefits, to an area that relies upon agri-tourism as its’ primary driver, should not be under-estimated.

You want to believe that, as legalization draws closer, there are going to be ever more parties lining up for a slice of this pie. And, unlike the unrealized LNG promises—a resource that has little value to our region—the cannabis industry is already thriving, albeit, mostly illegal, right here. The reality for a vibrant, world-renowned B.C. industry is there, but for the acceptance and reasonable regulation by our various governments.

With the hope of broadening Premier Clark’s understanding of this issue, I offered to arrange a tour of a modern, professional medical cannabis dispensary in her own riding of Westside-Kelowna. While it’s been almost two months without any response from her office, I’d like to reiterate and expand upon that offer. I have the ability to make the open offer to any official candidate, running in the next B.C. provincial election, for an opportunity to learn and better understand how dispensaries can benefit our communities through an actual walk-through.

This matter is of significant importance to our local economy. We should get it right.

Mark Conlin, West Kelowna

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