EDITORIAL: Revisiting cannabis

Until retail stores are in place, it is too early to determine if the regulations are appropriate

It has been a little less than a year since cannabis was legalized for recreational use in Canada in October 2018.

Since that time, there has been plenty of debate and discussion surrounding legalization.

Some have questioned whether cannabis should have been legalized. Others are interested in the regulations governing retail cannabis stores.

In some communities, there are caps on the number of stores the council will approve. Other communities have stated how close one store may be to another. Some have extensive buffer zones around schools, parks and playgrounds.

READ ALSO: Summerland cannabis application receives unanimous council support

READ ALSO: Regulations vary for cannabis retail stores

Summerland’s regulations were put in place late in 2018 and since that time, council has approved three applications for retail cannabis stores.

However, the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch, which grants the licensing for these stores in British Columbia, has not yet approved any of Summerland’s proposed retail outlets.

This slow pace means communities will have to wait to see the full effects of legalization.

Until one or more retail stores are approved in our community, it is impossible to determine whether the regulations are too strict, too lenient or appropriate for us.

Until a retail store becomes a reality, there is no way to know how such businesses will affect the community.

Once the first stores are in operation, it will be possible to determine the effects they are having.

At that time, it will be appropriate to revisit the existing regulations — at the national, provincial or municipal level — to determine if need to be changed.

Because Canada has had legalized cannabis for just a short time, and because retail outlets are still quite new, it is too early to determine if the regulations are fine as they are or if they need to be amended.

Until we have more information, it is not yet possible to speak about the effects of legalization, whether positive or negative, in our community.

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