As regular readers will know, I have been following the farce that is Vancouver’s attempts to control the sale of marijuana. The first of the appeals to the Board of Variance have now been completed and — shock and horror — not a single appeal was granted.
The first of the appeals to the Board of Variance have now been completed and — shock and horror — not a single appeal was granted. In each case, so far as I can tell, the Board refused appeals based on the fact that the dispensary concerned was within 300m of a school or similar. The by-law suggests that the purpose of this zone is to protect children from access to marijuana. There is a great deal wrong with this way of thinking.
For example, not even the most extreme anti-marijuana campaigner would ever suggest (with any seriousness) that marijuana is more dangerous that cigarets or booze. Both the latter are highly addictive substances that cause tens of thousands of deaths each year — and which are particularly dangerous for children. And yet, a corner store right next door to a school can sell cigarets without any restriction; and I am not aware of any distance-based rules for stores selling alcohol.
Therefore, the claim that the 300m zone for marijuana sales is for child safety reasons is BS, clearly hypocritical, and should be met with derisive laughter whenever the argument is used.
Moreover, teenagers have always been able to get hold of dope if they want it — just like they can get fags and booze — since well before the advent of dispensaries. By making legal access more difficult, teens are obliged to feed the illegal drug market which with even a moment’s thought must be more dangerous than a regular store. By increasing the number of dope stores, adults will never have to service the back lane dealer — but our vulnerable kids will. How is that adding to child safety?
Again, given Vision Vancouver’s history, one has to wonder if the fourteen stores that will be the only ones licensed are somehow part of Vision’s crony capitalistic clique? It does seem odd to me that, while all of the well-established dispensaries on the Drive are being shut down, a brand new cannabis shop will be allowed to open. Is this someone’s friend, one has to ask.
Finally, it seems likely to me that yesterday’s decision in the Federal Appeals Court that ruled Ottawa’s current medical marijuana legislation unconstitutional will simply hasten the Federal Liberal’s plan to legalize the sale and use of the weed. Christy Clarke’s retread Socreds will then undoubtedly take the opportunity to fill the Province’s coffers with cannabis taxation and will lean on the City to liberalize the rules.
All of this fuss and bother will have been yet another waste of money by the City.