Health officials discussed legalization of marijuana across B.C.

As Vancouver struggled to regulate its explosion of marijuana dispensaries, top provincial health officials considered how they could legalize the recreational use of the drug across British Columbia.

In a series of e-mails released through a Freedom of Information request, the health officials acknowledged there would likely be little progress toward legalization while the staunchly anti-drug Conservatives hold power in Ottawa, instead suggesting such a radical change would likely come about only if the Liberals win the fall election.

As the city was pondering its pot-shop bylaw last April, Brian Emerson, a medical consultant with the provincial Health Ministry since 2003, told Vancouver Coastal Health’s top doctor and the Provincial Health Officer that British Columbia could apply for a special exemption to federal drug laws, allowing it to move ahead on its own. The group was assessing the public-health rationale behind regulating Vancouver’s 100 illegal dispensaries and discussed what the regulation of all marijuana use across the province could look like.

“Given the emerging legalized markets in Alaska, Washington State, Oregon and likely soon in California it might make sense for B.C. to join that pack to complete the West Coast arrangement,” Dr. Emerson said in e-mails released to The Globe and Mail.

– Read the entire article at The Globe and Mail.