I fully appreciate North Cowichan council wanting to keep marijuana away from folks at risk in schools, hospitals and elsewhere.
However, council must realize cannabis will become legal this summer, according to Ottawa. If council wishes to use site-specific zoning amendments for recreational hemp shops, perhaps it should use the same restrictive tactics for bars, liquor stores and cigarette shops. Those risky stimulants have plenty of studies showing their acute, costly dangers to health and addiction. Studies about marijuana use are nowhere near as conclusive — a major reason, aside from billions in new tax revenues, the feds promised to finally legalize recreational and medical marijuana.
Councillors are elected to do what’s legally best for residents, patients and businesses, not to potentially impose any cannabis morality on North Cowichanians regarding a legal substance. Education about cannabis bud, booze and butts is also recommended by health officials to address addiction and abuse. While Cowichan’s leaders struggle to find new and sorely needed revenues, amid a sad lack of economic-growth ideas, councillors should welcome ways to embrace legal cannabis enterprises while leaving law enforcement to the police and bylaw staff.
Peter W. Rusland