Federal government disapproves of Vancouver plan to regulate medical pot shops

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The Canadian Press

Vancouver: The federal government is critical of the City of Vancouver’s plan to regulate medical marijuana dispensaries, saying it does not support making drugs more accessible.

A spokesman for Health Minister Rona Ambrose says marijuana use is still illegal in Canada and the government expects all local cities and police to respect and enforce the law.

City staff will present a report to council next week recommending regulating the booming medical pot industry with rules including a $30,000 licensing fee and rules that the shops be at least 300 metres from schools and community centres.

Coun. Kerry Jang says the federal government’s restrictive medical marijuana laws left the city with no choice but to regulate dispensaries.

He says current laws that prevent people from growing their own marijuana make it difficult for patients to access medicine and have created public health and safety issues in Vancouver.

Advocates are divided on the new rules, with “Prince of Pot” Marc Emery calling them cynical and unnecessary, while his wife Jodie Emery says they are a positive step toward legalization.

 

© 2015 The Canadian Press