Agree or disagree with Kervin’s Corner? Write a letter to the editor at editor@northislandgazette.com and we will publish it online and in print.

Port Hardy readies cannabis policy – will it be enough?

‘Opening a local dispensary will have all sorts of unforeseen socio-economic impacts.’

The Trudeau administration passed a piece of legislation which will legalize the selling and taxing of marijuana, Bill C-45, into the Senate. In fact, Vancouver has recently proposed those who want to buy cannabis will have to follow similar guidelines to alcohol regulations, that is, you have to be the age of majority. Suburbs surrounding the metro hub as well as rural towns across BC will no doubt follow close in its footsteps.

In our region, the Mayor of Kelowna recently presented to Port Hardy’s Mayor and Council, outlining a set of provisions for when our town has to deal with the cannabis issue.

Mayor and Council went to great lengths to prepare for C-45 and continue to do so. In fact, they recently launched a marijuana survey to gauge Port Hardy residents’ reactions. They’ve also set up a cannabis advisory committee. We are waiting for survey results to kick in, but for now we’re left twiddling our thumbs.

The central question is this – are residents in favor of a local marijuana dispensary? If so, what are the limits of consumption? Will it be similar to a bar, where residents can openly smoke in the shop? Will we have similar laws to public intoxication?

Licensed bars legally allow patrons to drink outside, say, on the business’ patio so long as they are still on the property.

If we’re following the same sort of regulations for a marijuana establishment, will customers be allowed to consume cannabis while still standing on its property? These are the sort of questions that Mayor and Council are of course tackling.

Following that, will there be regulations for where a dispensary is located in town? Some business owners might very well not like the idea of running a store next to a dispensary. Of course that doesn’t mean others wouldn’t mind it, but there is still stigma around having a dispensary in the neighbourhood.

Some owners fear that having a dispensary close nearby will slow down sales; there is also worry that it might drive up property crime.

There is even debate about who will be legally allowed to start and run a dispensary. And this isn’t bringing up the issue of whether it will become more accessible to youth either.

In any case, opening a local dispensary will have all sorts of unforeseen socio-economic impacts. We simply cannot anticipate every consequence – no matter how much community input there is to guide local policy and regulations.

In my opinion, we don’t need a dispensary at all. If the move toward legalized marijuana is legitimate, then what’s the need for a dispensary? Really, legalizing the sale and consumption of cannabis is like saying it’s the same as any other medical drug out there.

It’s not farfetched to suggest marijuana should be offered like any other legal drug – bought and sold in a pharmacy. Why bother with the extra, unnecessary costs of opening and running a dispensary; not to mention the burden of enforcing cannabis regulations? It has too many unexpected risks with little payoff. We’ll already have a perfectly functioning dispensary but it doesn’t go by that name.

Thomas Kervin is a recent political science alumnus from Simon Fraser University. He was born and raised in Port Hardy. He’s also a First Nations person who wants to address issues facing Indigenous communities today.

Just Posted

North Island Rising: Minority Rules – Women & Politics

Male politicians continue to out number female politicians in the North Island.

North Island Concert Society reports on a successful season

It was a successful season for the NICS in terms of increased attendance.

Bradshaw’s Photo Highlight: The Merry Widow Mountain trail

“Early morning light is best for photos of the face of the mountain”

Kwakwaka’wakw families march in Port Hardy in honour of MMIWG

Red dresses lined Market Street in honour of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls.

20th Anniversary of Family Fishing Weekend coming to North Island

Choice of 14 events held on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands

VIDEO: Huge crowds gather in downtown Toronto for Raptors parade

Mayor John Tory declares it ‘We The North Day’ after team’s historic NBA title win

Feds announce $50M strategy to fight dementia

Emphasis is on prevention and and supporting caregivers

Federal Liberals’ plan to help first-time homebuyers to kick in weeks before election

Ottawa to pick up 5% of a mortgage on existing homes for households that earn under $120,000 a year

B.C. VIEWS: When farmland protection doesn’t protect farmers

Secondary residences aren’t mansions, families tell Lana Popham

Bombers down B.C. Lions 33-23 in season opener

Former Lion Andrew Harris leads Winnipeg with 148 rushing yards

Northern B.C. family remembers murdered Indigenous woman with memorial walk

Still no closure for Ramona Wilson’s family 25 years later

Monkey spotted on late-night jaunt in Campbell River

Conservation officers also apparently looking for cougar in the area

B.C. university to offer mentorship program for former youth in care

Students using the provincial tuition waiver program will soon be able to form a community at KPU

Cyclists competing in one of the toughest bike races on the planet pass through Fernie

Divide riders looking strong as they finish first leg of 4160 km race

Most Read