Kamloops lawyer weighs in on pot regulations

By Greg Fry
February 6, 2018 - 9:35am

KAMLOOPS  — A Kamloops lawyer says there are "positives and negatives" to the new pot regulations the B.C. government rolled out Monday.

Shawn Buckley, principal lawyer with Buckley and Company, has an acute interest in marijuana legislation, and has represented medical marijuana providers in constitutional challenges to existing legislation.

"So, it's positive that they're being very proactive and I think actually it's positive that they're deciding initially we're not going to allow sales with alcohol in urban areas," says Buckley.

As for the negatives?

"I'm quite concerned that only the government is going to be allowed to sell online and also that they're creating separation for growers and retailers. So, let's say you had somebody that was growing organic cannabis and some specific strains that they had developed, they're not going to be allowed to sell. They'll have to sell to the government and other people will then purchase it and I think that separation long term is going to create problems. They are signalling they will likely allow small boutique people to do it all and it just raises the question, 'Well, why not bring those rules in now?'"

And though the province isn't to blame for this, Buckley says he's concerned the federal government is holding off on the sales of edibles for at least another year.

"And that's going to create problems for both the province and the city because we've got the courts saying people with a medical need have, basically, a constitutional right to have access to edibles and yet the medical people can't sell edibles and you're not going to be able to get edibles for the recreational market which people with medical need could do it that way."

He says he doesn't see any reason for the delay when it comes to edibles, especially when jurisdictions like Washington State already have a model in place.

"So, that one's bothering me and also that retailers can't rebrand. So, we're basically going to be stifling innovation and it's already happening in the marketplace meaning there's a whole bunch of innovation."

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