Share Marijuana Revenue, Take Zero-Tolerance Approach for Drivers, Calgary tells Ottawa

Article by Trevor Howell, Calgary Herald

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Calgary officials are urging Ottawa to consider a zero-tolerance policy for drivers under the influence of marijuana, share tax revenue from sales of the drug and surrender addresses of existing medicinal cannabis grow-ops.

The Trudeau government announced April 20 that it would introduce new legislation in the spring of 2017, establishing a nine-member task force to gather input from provincial and municipal governments, indigenous people, health and addiction experts. The panel is expected to report back to the government in November.

Calgary’s submission identifies several general areas of concern — including land-use and business licensing, building and fire code compliance, community standards, enforcement and community safety — but notes officials won’t fully understand the impact until the legislation is introduced next year.

“We follow very closely what the federal government is moving forward on and, as things evolve . . . we’re going to stay aligned with it and create the uses as they are permitted federally,” Wayne Brown, co-ordinator for the City of Calgary’s safety response unit, said in an interview.

In 2014, city council amended land-use bylaws to specifically allow for commercial marijuana growing operations as a discretionary use in areas zoned for general industrial activity. Earlier this year, council approved rules to prevent marijuana counselling businesses from clustering in neighbourhoods or opening within 150 metres of a school.

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