More info needed by Penticton council on cannabis legalization

Penticton Mayor Andrew Jakubeit said more information should come in the spring

Though the Province of B.C. has unveiled part of their distribution model for legal cannabis, Penticton Mayor Andrew Jakubeit said more information is needed before city hall can start generating ideas about how to deal with the changes.

Related: Pot shops speak out on B.C.’s proposed rules on age, retail plan

“In spring, we will start going out to get information to better gauge, with the community and stakeholders, to help determine how many do we want, how many is enough and what should we be putting in our own regulations to deal with the zoning and placement of dispensaries when they become legalized later in the year,” said Jakubeit. “We need to, in early spring, start addressing it and by that time the province should be unveiling more information to help us formulate a plan.”

Jakubeit said adopting a similar distribution model to alcohol and giving responsibility to the provincial Liquor Control Board is a good move.

“You don’t see cold beer and wine stores all over the place,” said Jakubeit. “There is a process to getting them approved and also enforcement to make sure they are complying.”

What really needs clarification, Jakubeit said, is how tax revenues are going to be shared out.

Related: Ottawa willing to give more pot tax revenue to provinces to help cities

“Last I heard, any taxation from marijuana was going to be split between the provinces and the feds,” said Jakubeit. “The municipalities are the ones that are going to have to regulate, enforce and deal with any unforeseen consequences. That still needs to be clarified, as do any other regulations around marijuana dispensaries as to their location and how many.”

Jakubeit also said communities need to both share in the taxes and have input, since they will be the front line of dealing with enforcement and regulations, along with any unforeseen consequences that come out of marijuana sales.

“There is still so many things up in the air or not defined, that we are still waiting for more information … from federal and, more importantly, provincial levels,” said Jakubeit.

Related: Pot legalization unlikely to kill black market right away

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