EDITORIAL: Ottawa must act on pot issue

If a law is bad, we need to have the law changed, not complain that the authorities are upholding it.

Sooke mom Kate Karassev began an online petition last week asking Sooke council to consider regulating medical marijuana dispensaries here.

Karassev’s concerns are well founded.

The City of Victoria is moving toward regulating marijuana dispensaries that have popped up on city streets. There are 38 known dispensaries known to operate in Victoria.

Karassev’s fear is that some – or many – of these dispensaries will move to Sooke. Since April, two marijuana operations have opened in Sooke and reportedly a third and fourth are on the way.

So far, Sooke council has not acted on regulating the business. The only regulation is the standard business licence bylaw.

One thing is clear: there won’t be any winners in the ongoing marijuana dispute until the federal government comes up with some concrete answers on what the public is or is not allowed to access and who they’re allowed to get it from.

We sympathize with the people who are using marijuana as medicine for chronic issues.

Some say it’s the only relief they’ve found in years of trying different prescriptions or strategies to manage their pain or symptoms.

We understand that for those people, the crackdown on dispensaries will drive them to find underground sources. In some ways, the unwillingness of the authorities to turn a blind eye to businesses selling controlled doses of the chemical in the form of tinctures, oils and consumables, actually supports the independent dealers and black market – the “real criminals,” some would call them.

On the other side of the coin, however, who gets to decide which laws the authorities should uphold?

If a law is bad, we need to have the law changed, not complain that the authorities are upholding it.

This fall, the feds are expected to come to the table with legislation surrounding access to marijuana for medicinal purposes, at which point we should have some answers and can actually move forward in a productive manner instead of having everyone yelling at each other about whether it’s a waste of taxpayer dollars to enforce the law.