January 26, 2015 - 2:35 PM
KELOWNA - The City of Kelowna will likely react quickly if Health Canada loses a Supreme Court challenge in late February and home-growing medical marijuana producers are allowed to resume production.
“We have to wait and see but if it means we have to jump in with extra regulations and inspections, we would do that,” said Ryan Smith, the city’s urban planning manager. “We want to get ahead of what’s coming. This concerns us from a lot of perspectives.”
Health Canada introduced the Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulation April 1 ,2014, replacing the previous set of rules, the Medical Marijuana Access Regulation which had allowed home production for qualified license and prescription holders.
Critics of the MMAR decried its lack of controls with police alleging the program had been infiltrated by organized crime while municipalities across Canada complained they had no inspection and licensing control over what amounted to industrial operations mounted in residential locations.
The new regime has confined marijuana production to large-scale industrial production facilities, outlawing home growing and requiring patients to buy their prescriptions from one of the commercial operators.
However a group of patients, represented by activist attorney John Conroy from Abbottsford, challenged Health Canada’s changes, receiving an injunction just days before the program was scheduled to end last year.
This has left the program in legal limbo, with Health Canada moving ahead with its commercial program, while reports are that many of the home-growers have continued to operate, or resumed operation, while awaiting the court decision. Smith could not provide a firm estimate of how many MMAR licensed growers had previously operated in the city.
Conversely, if the injunction is dismissed and Health Canada’s MMPR becomes the new protocol, Smith said the city would try to find a way of ensuring all the previously licensed home production sites had been properly decomissioned. “I think both Health Canada and the municipality have to partner on this issue,” he added.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015