Now that the senior levels of government have effectively punted on their responsibility to bring some measure of continuity and common sense to the sale of cannabis products for recreational use, Sooke, along with other municipalities, have been left to clean up the mess.
At the Jan. 21 committee-of-the-whole, district staff responded to the challenge by presenting local officials with a clear application process and two alternative regulation options so that the district might respond to LCRB applications for Cannabis Retail Store Licenses in Sooke.
To its credit, council accepted the report and added a few common sense caveats to the proposed mechanisms.
It’s an approach and attitude that has worked in the past, at least to this point, with council having allowed three shops to operate within the municipality while senior politicians dithered about how to enact the federal regulations on a local level.
RCMP Staff Sgt. Jeff McArthur has gone on record as saying that council’s approach has made sense, noting that the pot dispensaries operating in Sooke have generally been responsible businesses that have helped to take pot out of the purview of criminal interests.
Council deserves credit for its actions, but the truth is that it should never have been placed in this position.
Elsewhere, cannabis laws and procedures were rolled out so poorly that British Columbians have been left with a hodge podge of rules for application and approval.
Sure, everyone will be able to buy weed from government online stores, but establishing a shop in any given community will now be up to the vagaries of municipal governments.
Some communities have adopted positions reminiscent of King Canute striving to hold back the tide, effectively preventing the sale of cannabis on the postage stamp of Canada that they control.
It’s a foolish approach and one that will inevitably fail.
Sooke’s council should be applauded for bringing a degree of common sense to what, because of our senior levels of governments’ failures, has become a continuing, ridiculous and fractious debate.