Cannabis clarification demanded

Vernon officials insist responsibility for medical marijuana rests at the national level.

Ottawa is being told to clarify the legality of medical marijuana.

If there isn’t a clear plan laid out in the upcoming federal budget, the City of Vernon will write a letter to the government insisting that certainty be provided to municipalities, the police, medical marijuana dispensaries and customers when it comes to the regulations.

“There have been delays on decisions. It’s been a ping-pong ball back and forth,” said Coun. Juliette Cunningham after Tuesday’s council meeting.

“Everyone is caught in the middle and it needs to be clarified once and for all.”

In December, RCMP officers visited Vernon’s five medical marijuana dispensaries to “outline our concerns and the potential ramifications related to business practices which do not comply with the current Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA).”

As a result of the police action, the operator of a local medical cannabis dispensary told council Jan. 25 there is a need for municipalities to determine the number of outlets and where they are located.

City officials insist responsibility for medical marijuana rests at the national level.

“We want the federal government to expedite the matter because we’re stuck right now,” said Coun. Catherine Lord.

“We need to show it’s of a concern to us and we want it addressed.”

While he supported sending a letter to the federal government, Coun. Scott Anderson is concerned some residents may see the city becoming political by favouring or opposing medical marijuana.

“By getting involved in this, we’re making it tougher for the police and confusing the public,” he said.