Article by David Brown, Lift
I interviewed Kerry Jang last week to get an update on Vancouver’s dispensary licensing program, as well as to ask how Vancouver hopes to reconcile the illegality of dispensaries with their licensing program. Jang, the city’s lead on their dispensary licensing program, says the process so far has been a success, by keeping cannabis away from children and community centres and by stemming the proliferation of dispensaries in the city.
In addition to the seven business licenses already issued, Jang says the city’s regulations have forced the closure of about 30 locations and issued 27 injunctions against approximately 57 unlicensed businesses.
However, as our conversation progressed, some interesting themes emerged. Jang continues to blame Ottawa for all the problems the city is having with dispensaries, from problems with the lack of a regulated supply chain for the cannabis these stores sell, to what he claims is a lack of clarity on the legality of medical cannabis.
Both of these arguments are rather nonsensical. When pressed for what kind of guidance Vancouver still needs from Ottawa in regard to the legality of dispensaries versus the legal, regulated access program, Jang immediately refers to a lack of clarity from the task force on recreational legalization.
These are, of course, two different things. The lack of clarity regarding what recreational legalization will look like really has no bearing on the fact the Federal government has, repeatedly, for years, emphasized that dispensaries are illegal, unregulated, and unsafe.