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Vernon council 'stuck' until Ottawa moves on marijuana legislation

Members of the community attended a rally for medical marijuana Dec. 11, 2015 outside Vernon City Hall.
February 10, 2016 - 11:30 AM

VERNON - Local politicians want the federal government to clear up confusion about the legality of medical marijuana.

Vernon council was approached by a local dispensary last month about working collaboratively on regulating access centres, but says at this point, it’s not up to local governments.

“We’ve been put in a very difficult position,” Coun. Juliette Cunningham says.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has promised to legalize marijuana, but until the details are spelled out, Cunningham says municipalities and police detachments are caught in the middle. Under current legislation, medical marijuana dispensaries are not condoned under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.

The federal budget, due out around March, could bring the clarification council is looking for. If it doesn’t, council plans to send a letter to Ottawa calling for the feds to expedite new marijuana legislation. Coun. Catherine Lord says until then, local government is stuck. 

“I do agree it’s not something we can particularly get involved in, but I think it would be remiss to say we’re not involved because it does affect our community,” Lord says.

Vernon dispensary shops were warned by police in December 2015 to shut down. Since then, there have been no raids or subsequent warnings from the detachment.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at or call 250-309-5230. To contact the editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

News from © iNFOnews, 2016

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