VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – With Ontario planning to sell recreational marijuana in government-controlled stores starting next summer, people in BC may be wondering whether the BC NDP will follow suit.
The 150 shops will operate separately from the Liquor Control Board of Ontario’s current stores and will coincide with the federal government’s plans to introduced legislation in April next year with a goal of legalizing and regulating the use of recreational pot by next July 1.
Doctor M.J. Milloy with the BC Centre on Substance Use says how BC will approach marijuana sales has yet to be seen, but the province already has a history of private medical dispensaries.
“I think that some sort of government system will be established. Whether it will be a monopoly or whether it will coexist with private firms is yet to be seen,” he says, adding he hopes the province learns from the successes of private dispensaries. “They have been established under a great deal of pressure and I don’t think we’ve seen any sort of real negative impacts on our communities, and in fact what we have seen is places that people can go which do not directly enrich organized crime.”
Milloy applauds Ontario’s decision to separate the sale of alcohol and marijuana, saying it will limit sales to you and prevent issues related to both drug and alcohol use.
The BC government is developing policies that address the province’s specific areas of concern within the larger issue of the legalization of cannabis, according to the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General.
Whatever direction the province chooses to go, Milloy encourages officials to keep public health top of mind and work to reduce dependency on black markets which benefit organized crime. Those reasons are also why he says politicians must consider what should be done if specific communities do not want to allow the sale of marijuana within their communities.
“I think that should be the right of communities to say they don’t want these things. At the same time, I think it’s up to the government to provide a source for all British Columbians who would rather purchase their cannabis from a public, legally regulated system and not support organized crime.”