The timing may be due to the City of Langford’s ongoing battle with a medicinal marijuana dispensary or Justin Trudeau’s visit to the region. But whatever the reason, the City is calling for action from the prime minister.
Langford Mayor Stew Young has reached out to Trudeau, pleading with the federal government to take quick action to regulate the distribution of medical marijuana. In a letter dated Feb. 21, Young suggested that Health Canada-licensed producers and pharmacies should become the sole distributors of cannabis.
“In my view, this is the only viable way the police can fulfill their mandate to uphold the law and to protect the public,” Young wrote.
Despite promises to legalize marijuana, Trudeau took a tough stance on current marijuana regulations, saying “the law remains the law” during a visit to Esquimalt Thursday.
According to Trudeau, the move to regulate marijuana was to protect children, and take the billions of dollars that criminal organizations and street gangs are pocketing through the sale of the drugs, and direct them into a system that can be monitored, taxed and used to support people who are facing drug use challenges.
Young also suggested that licensed producers be permitted to create storefront dispensaries to distribute cannabis to patients directly, and asked that Health Canada establish a certification program for anyone who dispenses any doctor-prescribed cannabis products. “In my view it is extremely important to have trained, educated professionals safely dispensing drugs across Canada.”
By doing this, Young wrote, it would undercut the growing number of illegal dispensaries popping up across the country. “It is my firm belief that these changes would go a long way in protecting the public from illegal cannabis increasingly coming from unknown sources – and very likely from criminal elements.”
Bill Blair, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, has started a cross-country trip to discuss the legalization and regulation of cannabis. Young expressed an interest in meeting with him, the minster of health or the Prime Minister to discuss the matter.
“Bringing legal clarity quickly to this issue is paramount for our communities. The longer your government takes to provide clear direction to Canadians, the greater the opportunity for contradictory direction.”
With files from Kendra Wong/Black Press