At last weeks all-candidates’ debate, Mayor Maja Tait was asked how the legalization of marijuana would impact the community and her answer at least implied that everything was under control.
She’d spoken to all the three dispensaries in Sooke and had been informed that they have all applied for their licensing under the new legislation.
The RCMP were on-side, the number of outlets have been capped at three, and all was well, she said.
The actual facts are a bit more nuanced, according to the operators of thedispensaries.
Lisa Kailan, co-owner of the Castle Naturals Cannabis Dispensary confirmed that, while the store will not have their license in place as of Wednesday (Oct.17), they have no intention of shutting their doors, unlike some Victoria dispensaries.
“We’ve applied but there is a lot of paperwork involved and we’re just waiting for them to give us more information,” said Kailan.
Pointing to the dizzying array of marijuana blends on the shelves and the scores of bottles of cannabis tinctures available at her store, she said that none of her product would be discarded while cannabis retailers wait for clarification on product sources and limitations.
“We had a meeting with the Ministry of Finance, for example, and they seem supportive of the craft growers,” said Kailan.
“We have amazing growers … craft growers who really know what they’re doing and it would be ridiculous not to allow those products to be sold.”
At High Tide Cannabis, the operators (who did not wish to be named) said that they also had no intention of closing their doors and spoke with some frustration about how, with a municipal election underway, no marijuana operation would get approvals before the legalization date.
“Everything is shrouded in mystery,” they said.
“We’ve received nothing from the province saying that ‘this is the plan’. We have applied to the Province but the local government has to approve. Plus, we’re in Otter Point, so it’s a different set of politicians that have to approve our operation.”
At 642 Cannabis, the owners did not respond to a request for an interview, but the staff at the site confirmed that the store would be open on Oct. 17 despite not having their permit in place.
“I know that we’re open because I’m working that day,” said one employee.
“As far as getting rid of our ole product, we’re in no rush to make that happen.”
And, despite that the recreational use of cannabis has been legalized, there are concerns on the part of operators that some of the products that have been for sale to this point will not be allowed under the new rules.
“We have these tinctures, for example. The only thing allowed under the new laws are some low potency tinctures, and that’s just silly,” said one Castle Naturals employee.
“With that kind of rules, at this point, it seems more like prohibition than legalization.”
But Kailan is hopeful that things will work out and that no police actions are taken until they are.
“We’re operating on a lot of hearsay at the moment. It seems as though they are still writing the manual,” she said.
“But I think that we’ll be able to operate and run. It may be tightened up near the beginning, but I get the sense that things will be loosened up.”