EDITORIAL: Up in smoke

The sweet, skunky smell of marijuana floats through downtown Vernon

The sweet, skunky smell of marijuana floats through downtown Vernon.

In fact, the unmistakable odour floats through B.C. airways on a fairly regular basis.

But just because it’s a common occurrence, and just because the feds plan to legalize the green July 1, 2018, does not mean it’s legal, yet.

However, walking through Vernon or any other mid-size community in the province, you would never know it’s illegal. Pot shops with blocked windows are just as common a sight as those who smoke it, if not more so.

The vast number of illegal marijuana dispensaries are putting RCMP and local governments in a tricky situation. While RCMP continue to crack down on illegal partaking of the herb, the impending legalization is putting more than just smokers in limbo.

“Some municipalities do periodic crackdowns on the direct sale of medical marijuana. But it doesn’t appear the RCMP are getting much support from Crown counsel,” said Will Pearce, Vernon’s chief administrative officer at a recent council meeting. “At this point in time, it’s a little bit chaotic. Right now they are sort of operating in a framework that really has no rules.”

This lack of framework only contributes to the problem.

“We have so many in town now,” said Coun. Dalvir Nahal. “It seems like they’ve doubled or tripled.”

To soothe the pot onslaught, Ottawa needs to give further directions to local governments and RCMP on how to proceed.

Until that happens, pot shops will continue to show up on our streets and wild fires won’t be the only cause of smoky skies in the Okanagan.

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