Ottawa Blasts Vancouver’s Pot Shop Plans

The federal government drew battle lines with the City of Vancouver Thursday over the city’s plans to regulate marijuana dispensaries, saying they are dangerously close to legitimizing an illegal substance.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government said municipal governments have no authority to regulate and license businesses that sell pot.

“I am deeply concerned by reports that the City of Vancouver intends to discuss a proposal to regulate illegal drug dispensaries at an upcoming council meeting,” Health Minister Rona Ambrose told Mayor Gregor Robertson in a letter.

Vancouver’s growing sector of dispensaries goes beyond the federal government’s 2013 regulations on the sale of pot for medical purposes, Ambrose said. She dismissed City Manager Penny Ballem’s argument that the city is not seeking to regulate the drug itself and that federal rules have created a “grey zone” leading to an explosion of pot dispensaries.

“These regulations are clear and do not provide municipalities with the authority to legitimize the commercial sale of marijuana, which remains an illegal substance,” Ambrose told Robertson. “Storefronts and dispensaries do not operate within a ‘grey zone,’ and the law is clear: they are illegal.”

– Read the entire article at The Vancouver Sun.