From free joints on the lawn of the B.C. legislature, to parties at Victoria dispensaries, the provincial capital lit up on the first day of cannabis legalization in Canada.
While there was jubilation in the streets, the resounding message from activists and dispensaries is that legalization doesn’t go far enough – there is more work to be done.
On the lawn of the legislature, longtime cannabis activist Dana Larsen spoke of “harsh penalties” and “strict regulations far, far beyond the kind of rules and penalties they put in for alcohol.”
Dispensaries are concerned about the delivery disruptions of medicine to patients who depend on cannabis for pain relief.
At a “420 Celebration Of Legalization” at Trees Dispensary on Yates St. Oct.17, company CEO Dadmehr Naimi said they will stay open until there is a Victoria dispensary that gets licensed or if a government licensing body asks them to close.
“We are worried about a lot of the products the patients won’t have access to. We’re hoping the transition period allows enough time for the [BC Liquor Distribution Branch] to stock up on all the patients’ needs,” Naimi said. “We’re hoping the government is going to give us a grace period until our application is processed.”
Charles Philp, co-founder of Leaf Compassion, also chose to stay open during the transition, not wanting to leave Victoria residents scrambling.
”I’ve been doing the legal fight in the courts for two-and-a-half now. There’s a ton more work to do. We’re just trying to make sure the people have service,” said Philp who is concerned about what the threat of the upcoming postal strike would mean for patients ordering cannabis through the only government licensed shop in B.C. – located in Kamloops.
“That’s why we chose not to shut down. We are going to continue doing what we have been doing for the last four years, and that is sell cannabis. We lab test it and we also pay our taxes so we are benefiting Canadian society as well.”
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