As Prime Minister Justin Trudeau discussed local issues with Mayor Lisa Helps inside Victoria City Hall Thursday afternoon, a marijuana dispensary is in clear view across the street.
During his press conference at CFB Esquimalt earlier in the day, Trudeau made his views on marijuana dispensaries clear.
“The current law remains the law. We are hoping to bring in legislation before the summer, we’re working very hard on that but I cannot stress enough, until we have a framework to control and regulate marijuana, the current law applies,” Trudeau said.
Victoria has one of the highest number of pot shops per capita in the country — there are roughly 35 operating in the city.
And rather than being shut down by police, city council has now started the process of issuing business licenses for some of them to operate.
Helps says she spoke about many things with the Prime Minister in their 30 minute meeting.
“Belleville terminal, Crystal Pool, fire hall, community benefit procurement, the opioid crisis, oil tankers,” she listed.
But marijuana never came up.
“He didn’t raise it, I didn’t raise it,” Helps said.
“I had half an hour with the Prime Minister of Canada, it’s first time since 1965 that a Prime Minister has visited, I personally and I think for our city and our region have much better things to talk about than cannabis,” she said.
Meanwhile in Langford, the city’s mayor has spoken out loudly against the one marijuana dispensary that has opened and been shut down several times in his community.
Thursday Stu Young wrote a letter to Justin Trudeau calling on him to “designate Health Canada licensed producers and pharmacies as the only distributors for cannabis.”
Adding “it would go a long way in protecting the public from illegal cannabis increasingly coming from unknown sources – and very likely from criminal elements.”
Trudeau says his goal for regulating and controlling marijuana is to take the revenue out of the pockets of criminals, and to restrict access to young people.
“It’s easier to buy a joint for a teenager than it is to buy a bottle of beer, that’s not right,” Trudeau said.
As the Prime Minister moves on to Vancouver his plan to bring in marijuana legislation by summer can’t come soon enough for many communities here on Vancouver Island.
Original article can be found here