Should Vancouver Medical Marijuana Dispensaries be Zoned as Pharmacies?

There are many neighbourhoods in Vancouver where you can’t drive down the street without seeing medical marijuana dispensaries.

There are 60 of them in the city of Vancouver alone. However, under federal laws, dispensaries are illegal.

When Canada’s marijuana laws changed last year, the dispensaries remained illegal.

“We moved to a system whereby medical marijuana, the growing of marijuana for medical purposes, would be taken out of neighbourhoods,” said Parliamentary Secretary Paul Calandra on Global News BC1.

“There’s an injunction in place that will be going to court in February, the federal government will be going in to court in February to defend the regulation changes that we brought in to place,” he added.

“As you know, we would have closed down, the new regulations would have seen these close down all of these home-grow operations close down as of March 31, 2014, but this injunction of course has stopped that from happening.”

Calandra said it is very troubling and medical marijuana dispensaries in neighbourhoods should be shut down. He said municipal governments should be given more control over where these dispensaries are operating and put in an industrial and commercial area.

Vancouver Police say raiding medical marijuana dispensaries is not a priority for them as they want to focus their efforts on violent traffickers

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For Dana Larsen, vice-president of the Canadian Association of Medical Cannabis Dispensaries, he thinks the use of the word ‘illegal’ in relation to the dispensaries is not correct.

“I like to say that we’re not legislated,” he said on Global News BC1. “When dispensaries have been raided in the past and gone to court, the court consistently recognizes that we’re helping people, that the federal government’s medical marijuana program is a failure, and they give discharges or suspended sentences, so they’re not willing to treat it like a serious crime because it’s not a serious crime.”

Larsen said the reason more dispensaries are popping up in Vancouver is that more people are seeing the opportunity to help others and make the product available.

– Read the entire article at Global News.