B.C. Eagerly Anticipating Federal Pot Law; NDP, Greens Prepare Policy

By Meissner, Dirk | The Canadian Press, April 12, 2017 | Go to article overview

B.C. Eagerly Anticipating Federal Pot Law; NDP, Greens Prepare Policy


Meissner, Dirk, The Canadian Press


B.C. looks to score big from legal marijuana

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VICTORIA - After decades as a marijuana renegade, British Columbia is eagerly anticipating the federal government's bill legalizing marijuana.

Growing marijuana has become a backyard tradition in B.C. and the number of medical marijuana dispensaries in Vancouver and Victoria rival Tim Horton's outlets. Politicians, entrepreneurs and ordinary citizens are convinced marijuana offers unprecedented economic, social and health opportunities as Ottawa gets ready to introduce its legislation.

Vancouver-based Tantalus Labs, which grows medical marijuana in greenhouses, released a report this month that said the industry could create 15,000 jobs in B.C.

It said B.C.'s illegal marijuana market provides 40 per cent of Canada's black market and is worth $2.7 billion, with 85 per cent of that going to organized crime.

Dan Sutton, executive director at Tantalus, said he's worried B.C. is lagging behind Nova Scotia, Ontario and Alberta in developing a legal marijuana industry and could lose out.

"B.C. bud is a household name, globally," said Sutton. "We have a storied cultural history associated with cannabis and it's time for us to leverage that brand."

None of B.C.'s provincial political parties have touted marijuana legalization in the May 9 election campaign, he said.

NDP Leader John Horgan said he supports legalization. "I've been thinking about it a lot," he said in a recent interview.

Horgan has studied marijuana policy and the opportunities from legalizing the drug.

Last year, he sent two of his most senior caucus members, Carole James and Mike Farnworth, to Washington and Oregon to view how those states implemented and adapted to legal marijuana use and sales. …

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