Medical marijuana dispensaries are technically illegal in Canada according to the federal government there, but that hasn't stopped medical marijuana dispensaries from popping up all over Vancouver. I saw something similar happen throughout Oregon prior to the Oregon Legislature passing a bill to license and regulate them. Medical marijuana dispensaries are not going away in Canada, which is something that the Vancouver Council realized when it approved a measure today that would license and regulate medical marijuana dispensaries in Vancouver. Per the Montreal Gazette:
Vancouver council Wednesday passed rules regulating marijuana pot shops, instituting high licence fees and rules around where the shops can be located.
Struggling to balance the fact that marijuana is illegal in Canada while Vancouver has witnessed an explosion of at least 100 "medical marijuana" shops, a divided council approved rules to license the shops, under strict conditions.
In passing the rules, however, they amended the regulations to give compassion clubs a major break in licence fees, dropping it to $1,000 a year from $30,000 for all others.
Underpinning the city council's decision to regulate pot shops is the argument that the city is not trying to legalize marijuana, but rather regulate businesses operating in Vancouver.
Like I said, medical marijuana dispensaries are here to stay in Vancouver, Canada, and beyond. Simply ignoring them will not solve anything, and cities like Vancouver should license and regulate them, both to collect revenue, and to help ensure that patients are visiting reputable safe access points. Hopefully this sends a message to the Canadian federal government, and it initiates reforms nationwide.