Towns need to get on the pot NOW

Province leaves little time for municipalities to get their acts together

It’s looking now like the federal government’s July 1st target for legalizing marijuana sales is a little optimistic.

(Perhaps someone was smoking something when that was set.)

The rollout for legalization is going to depend largely on the ambition on the Senate.

So nobody hold their breath.

A delay in implementing pot sales is not wholly a bad thing.

Cause we’re not ready, dude.

The province just announced details of its strategy this week, and municipalities like Princeton have a lot to decide before local residents can buy their weed and their munchies in the same place.

If fact, the NDP government is putting the decision of whether or not marijuana can even be sold in a community squarely on the shoulders of local councils.

That responsibility demands a lot of consultation and consideration.

Should Princeton decide it’s okay to sell pot, the next step is to figure out where it will be sold and who is going to sell it.

Zoning will have to be considered. Neighborhoods are going to have questions and concerns.

Repeat for communities in the RDOS.

As a rule recreational cannabis and alcohol will not be sold in the same location. That said there are exceptions for rural areas such as the ones that allow tobacco and booze to be sold side by side now, as happens here with the privately owned beer and wine store.

Smoking cannabis will be legal in public places where it is legal to smoke tobacco or to vape.

That will necessarily put pressure on the town’s smoking bylaw, and that legislation is going to require a second look.

Police, firefighters, the medical community, schools, event organizers, parents and last but not least cannabis consumers and the people who hope to profit from pot sales all have vested interests in how this plays out.

Everyone needs a say.

The more opportunities there are for local public meetings, submissions and study the smoother this transition is going to be.

All levels of government need to be thinking about the challenges involved in this change and how best to address them before those turn into problems.

The fight to legalize recreational cannabis use has been going on for too long for us to mess it up now because we are in a hurry.

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